May 29, 2008 at 10:19 pm #2672
Agreed. And I think some of the open content aspects of this site, and undoubtedly others that come along, will help to lower that cost as well.June 1, 2008 at 9:57 pm #2794
June 2, 2008 at 6:36 pm #2869
- “With Vista this may eventually become the case.”
- Again, you seem to disagree with reality. Windows (whatever version) has dominated the market for what, a couple of decades now? One can only assume that the billions of man-hours people have spent using the software has produced results that the users find acceptable. Otherwise they would seek out other solutions. You can argue all you want that your favourite OS should have been faster, better and cheaper. That does not change reality.
- “Spoken like someone who has not used Linux in a decade.”
- That is the comment I always get when I relay my disappointment with trying out Linux. Well, I´ll grant that it was perhaps a year or two since I last tried Ubuntu. I´ll try to check it out when time permits. Maybe this will be the time it really has caught up to Windows? I´ll keep my fingers crossed.
- “The fact is that most people are unaware that alternatives exist”
- Think about what this means. If people are unaware of something it is because they have not had the motivation to search for alternatives, meaning that their current solutions is at least good enough, ie it gets the job done.
- “So tell me, in the “free market” how would you stop private corporations from going directly through the spar producers? “
- The only way a manufacturer of a part of a seastead (like military or medical facilities) could monopolize a free market is too offer an unbeatable value for money, so that all the customers would choose their option out of self-interest. This is exactly how Microsoft does it, but the OS market has differences due to all the interdependencies what with the third party software, hardware etc, making it easier for a particular player to gain a large market share. So in short, a supplier for seastead products would have a much harder time doing it for any longer period of time, and then only through making the best products.
- “When its not merely software bloat as in the example of operating systems I used, but your very safety and health, what do you propose? Its easy to claim the free market will prevail, but without restricting whom can cut deals with one another to an extent, you may as well grab your ankles and ask them to be gentle.”
- If all seastead suppliers would bundle a perticular brand of medical and military facilities with all their seasteads there are several options:
- Buy a seastead and throw out the stuff you don´t like and install your preferred brand (this shouldn´t be that expensive considering that the stuff from the monopolizing supplier must have been very cost efficient to achieve a high market share to begin with) .
- Start your own seastead production (if you are not unique there must be a great big market for “whitebox seasteads”, right?).
- Swallow your pride and buy and use the mainstream stuff. If everyone else is using it it cannot be that horrible.
- edit: http://seasteading.org/interact/forums/community/general-chat/post-seastead-drawings-and-art-here#comment-1049
“Again, you seem to disagree with reality. Windows (whatever version) has dominated the market for what, a couple of decades now? One can only assume that the billions of man-hours people have spent using the software has produced results that the users find acceptable. Otherwise they would seek out other solutions. You can argue all you want that your favourite OS should have been faster, better and cheaper. That does not change reality.
And again you seem to be ignoring reality. The fact is a great deal of the general public is unaware options exist because when people go buy computers, guess what comes nice and preinstalled on it! Unless you are suggesting everyone knows how to build computers, install operating systems, or run it beyond a basic day to day level. If that is the case, I suggest you go spend a day in a computer repair shop or at a Best Buy and see what sort of questions are asked and how they are answered. (incidentally, I have yet to bring my favourite OS into the mix so as to keep from playing favourites)
“That is the comment I always get when I relay my disappointment with trying out Linux. Well, I´ll grant that it was perhaps a year or two since I last tried Ubuntu. I´ll try to check it out when time permits. Maybe this will be the time it really has caught up to Windows? I´ll keep my fingers crossed.
You keep telling me that the large number of people who use Windows is a clue that it must be spiffy-super-fantastic. Now its my time to point out to you that you receiving the same comment on linux again and again may just tell you something. You may like Ubtunu, but if I were in the business of suggesting a distro to you, I’d say go with Debian. Either way should be keen, though.
“Think about what this means. If people are unaware of something it is because they have not had the motivation to search for alternatives, meaning that their current solutions is at least good enough, ie it gets the job done.
I am going to have to call that statement patently false. There are several motivations people have not to search for alternatives. The biggy is they do not think one exists, closely followed with fear that if one exists they will have to start the painful learning operation from scratch. The less computer savvy the person, the more fear they’ll have in seeking alternatives which may force them to relearn everything again. This later myth is slowly being dispelled by Mac OS and to some degree by Ubuntu now that Dell has taken a liking to it. But the core problem remains and there is no easy way of fixing it. We see the same in wireless home routers. A vast majority of routers I encounter are unsecured passed the defaults installed on them. Why? Because they are plug and play and most people do not even realize there is anything to be secured. Ignorance is a curable malady but the “free-market” encourages corporations to exploit it. After all, taking advantage of an idiot is easier than making a superior product. And without some limitation, that is exactly what you’ll get.
“The only way a manufacturer of a part of a seastead (like military or medical facilities) could monopolize a free market is too offer an unbeatable value for money, so that all the customers would choose their option out of self-interest. This is exactly how Microsoft does it, but the OS market has differences due to all the interdependencies what with the third party software, hardware etc, making it easier for a particular player to gain a large market share. So in short, a supplier for seastead products would have a much harder time doing it for any longer period of time, and then only through making the best products. “
I am again going to have to disagree. All it would take is adequate startup funding and exploiting the ignorance of the general public. First you do it by providing what appears to be an excellent services, from there you make it difficult to replace that service, then you let them forget there is even an alternative to their service. That is exactly what MS did and is exactly what will happen with an unmitigated free-market with its hand in seasteading.
“If all seastead suppliers would bundle a perticular brand of medical and military facilities with all their seasteads there are several options:
Buy a seastead and throw out the stuff you don´t like and install your preferred brand (this shouldn´t be that expensive considering that the stuff from the monopolizing supplier must have been very cost efficient to achieve a high market share to begin with) . “
This is not always the case. The drug industry elaborates this nicely(particularly the cheap drug program run by Wal-mart, as well as its gas services). Companies with large funding to invest initially can make more money while charging less cost for a seasteads “default installation” simply through banking on more people to choose their service because of that cost difference. If it becomes less of an initial hassle and is cheaper, you will find people tend to choose it regardless of its quality(AOL anyone?). You keep relying on all this theory of the free market which sounds wonderful, just fantastic. If the reality worked as well as the theory you’d not have a single complaint from me, I’d become Good Ol’ Johnny McCapitalist. But the reality works differently, in some cases with vast differences. And when it gets to these cases it sounds good to yell and claim its the government interfering that must be screwing it up. But the simple facts do not agree with that assertion.
“Start your own seastead production (if you are not unique there must be a great big market for “whitebox seasteads”, right?).
I’m sure there will be barebones seastead productions. There is no doubt about that. And the first seasteads will undoubtedly begin that way. But as seasteading moves away from pioneering and becomes a more viable option for most people, you will see it drift from the build it from scratch mentality to the cookie cutter mentality. And this is where the danger is.
“Swallow your pride and buy and use the mainstream stuff. If everyone else is using it it cannot be that horrible. “
Ah yes, the good old “if everyone else is doing it it must be alright”. A nice and close sibling to easier and better. What a wonderful outlook. After all, most Americans know what is good for them and that is why they are known the world round for their physical fitness.
Oh wait.June 2, 2008 at 8:31 pm #2878
We seem to disagree fundamentally on the free market. I don´t think we´ll get any further debating this topic, and it likely isn´t going to help seasteading a whole lot (the discussion that is) so I´ll withdraw from this topic.October 27, 2009 at 1:21 am #8436
The only sure things in life are death and taxes, as the old saying goes. But, there is no reason that seastead taxes has to be as painful as death.
First, I would like to point out that there is a difference between taxes and user fees. Taxes, when collected fairly in a democratic society, apply to everyone. For this reason, the Framers of the US Constitution limited the federal government to collecting a head tax from each state for each of its citizens. User fees, however, are collected from only those people who use a government service, or exercise a privelge that is regulated by the government. Thus, a property tax is a tax paid by all property owners and renter (trough their landlords), and registration and plate fees are user fees paid only by people who WANT to operate a motor vehicle on public roads.
I am not sure if the seastead can avoud taxation; but it may be possible to eliminate a great deal of taxation most of the people in the world cannot.
First, limit any government as much as possible. Whatever powers the citizens give their government, the more government managers will want to acquire. The first step in limiting government is to eliminate professional politicians. Employ term limits to reduce the possibility of a money-grubbing political class from arising and lording it over the tax-slave class that will be needed to serve them. Limiting an office holder to one or two terms promotes democracy by allowing, every-so-often, new people to participate in their own governance. The second step is to formalize in the constitution the manner of any taxation and the tax rates, then require a public referendum to create any new taxes or to increase the tax rates. Matters of taxation should never be left entirely in the hands of political creatures.
Second, require the citizenry to perform some of the functions customarily reserved to government: a large part of national defense, education, law enforcement, minor judiciary processes, etc. While it is advisable to keep a military cadre, which can also serve as full-time law enforcement; the bulk of the defensive force should be a citizens militia. If anyone does not wish to serve in the militia, then they can declare themselves conscientous objector and pay an annual users fee to be excused from service. In a pinch, the militia also serves as a police force/community watch. Private citizens can open their own schools and charge what ever the parents are willing to pay for her/his services. This has the advantage of making education a free market. Respected members of the community may be drafted by all parties in dispute to hear the facts of the case, and settle the matter. For more detailed discussions of these ideas, read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.
Third, make some normal government functions optional. This would apply to something like water and sewage treatment. Each citizen may elect to collect rainwater for her/his own consumption, or to receive water serve from the government. Likewise, each citizen can process their own liquid and solid wastes, or use the government’s facilities for a fee. The fee would be the cost of collection minus the value of the recovered resources from the waste, with any surplus amount going to other government tasks, like enforcement of anti-waste dumping regulations.
By keeping the government struction lean, its duties limited and in check, and placing the burden of some government operations on its citizens, most of what the seastead government will do will be paid by user fees. There should be little, if any, need for collecting taxes. If there are taxes, and a citizen finds her/himself in a position of not being able to pay those taxes, there are two options. One, charity — real charity given by real people, not government. Two, servitude of the deliquent taxpayer or family.October 27, 2009 at 8:12 pm #8449
Taxation as it currently exists refers to payments taken from you by force, often before they even make it to your bank account. These payments are often used to redistribute income from one citizen to another and have little to no basis on the amount of resources you actually use.
I don’t see the idea of taxation as it currently exists as applying to sea steads at all. That doesn’t mean there won’t be bills to pay on a seastead, but the difference is that these payments will be voluntary and would not be called “taxes”, they would be based on contracts voluntarily entered into (by moving to the seastead, for example) and failure to pay them should be treated no differently than failure to pay any bill would be.November 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm #8554
“VI.3.7 As the ability to tax is the ability to destroy, the Republic forever renounces the right to levy taxes,…”November 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm #8629
>The point of seasteading is to decrease the frontier factor of living on the ocean,
We are going to have to be actually living on the oceans before we will be able to “decrease the frontier factor”. Not just wannabe seasteaders, but actually living there.
I was strongly interested in ocean living in the late 1970s ad early 1980s, but lost interest because while there was a good bit written about it, no one was actually doing anything more than living on boats in marinas and sailing between marinas with the sea as backdrop rather than actual home. Hopefully, with the decreasing costs we will be able to do more now, but too many here are more worried about comfort and safety than previous generations of pioneers have been, and the open sea will necessarily be more dangerous and less comfortable than land ever will.
You could think of pioneering as a tax collected by reality, rather than gov’ts; and that we will pay more in risk and discomfort than in money.December 18, 2009 at 1:29 am #8929
I don’t mind paying taxes in principle, revenue in necessary for the establishment and maintainance of infrastructure and social services.
I do, however, mind paying taxes to support millions of civil service employees who seem to exist primarily to screw me out of more money and liberties.
I do, however, mind paying taxes to support millions of “entitlement drones” who won’t work for themselves.
I do, however, mind paying taxes on the meager income I’ve worked hard to earn.
I do, however, mind paying taxes to provide social services and entitlements I am not personally entitled to receive.
I do, however, mind paying taxes to ensure the mismanagement of the taxes I pay.
I do, however, mind paying taxes to support to intrusion into Foreign Nations I’d rather leave to their own devices.
I do, however, mind paying taxes to on property I already bought and paid for.
Give me fair and equitable taxes that promote my immediate well-being, and don’t adversly effect my ability to save up for an under $3000 car/truck/motorcycle and I’ll not complain about taxes.January 10, 2010 at 10:43 pm #9159
Hate to inject reality into this dream, but someone has to…
Let me get this straight. Leave the current taxation, establish a government without taxes…
Which one of you takes on the full-time, un-payed positions in the new order? How do you get free government, free “Sheriff Andy,” free military, free medical care, etc.? It instantly becomes corruptable, because of the “GIFTS,” so “Andy” and the militia back the best meal in town, along with the clothing and equipment, best hotel, etc.
How do you get that friendly national status, without being able to send ambassadors, presidents and the like, to whatever meeting that has to take place, for the good of the nation?
Who, among us, runs the whole affair, keeps the peace, feeds the hungry, supports the ones that lost it all in the last hurricane,… , for free?
If it’s a “Company,” the company sets the rules, you buy what you need at the company store, deal with the low-wages and low-prices for your produce…So you form “Unions” and get into that whole mess,…
It ain’t gonna be a picnic. There ain’t such a thing as a free lunch. ” No taxes”means it ain’t gonna happen.
On the other hand… Establish a sales-tax based ecomomy. Keep enough government to keep it from becoming a Hatfields and McCoys hoe-down. Have a few dignitaries on the payroll for all that parlaying with the bigger fish, “Andy” and the boys are still needed, some sort of farmers market is desireable. So is that hospital… The term “Infrastructure” needs a structure to put it all in.
If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reefJanuary 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm #9185
but I have to disagree with your statement that , “‘No taxes’ means it ain’t gonna happen”. I believe it could. There are many different ideas and ideals about just what ‘Seasteading’ is. They are all out here to read and their advocates will happily tell you all about them! Mine is that seasteaders are, and must be, independant and self reliant individuals and families not needing or even desireing the kind of infrastructure that ‘taxes’ absolutly require. Such people wouldn’t have to be paid because ‘the Honor [would be] to Serve’. They would recognize that ‘service’ is a duty and obligation born of collective necesity of the community at large requiring everyone to step up and be counted as pulling their own load and that if called, to put in a bit more! Novel concept in this day and age I know, but that IS what made America great and why ‘they’ and ‘them’ are still comeing here by the boat load!January 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm #9187
I agree with wohl that small family-sized seasteads, or even very small community seasteads on the order of a few dozen people, probably can get along fine without firemen, police, or any other infrastructure needs that require taxes to support. Everybody pitches in and helps, or everybody sinks to the bottom.
At these sizes pretty much any form of social interaction will work fine. Pure democracy, anarchy, libertarianism, etc. These things only start breaking down when your society gets much bigger.January 13, 2010 at 4:17 am #9192
But (and it’s a big one) you don’t have a “Nation” of a dozen small, self-sufficient, family seasteads. It would be a community. If it’s going to get significantly larger, it takes community property, to develope into a “State” that can be recognized. Don’t expect easy hand-outs, for that new park or the food for the hotel, the teacher at the school, the school, the jail for the criminals, Shreiff Andy, Andy’s troopers, etc.
At some point, taxation becomes inevitable, in order to have someone traveling to parlay with whichever governments you want to recognize this new “Nation.” How do you get the “Ben Franklins” the money they need to wine-and-dine, so they can wheel-and-deal, for that recognition, if nobody volunteers that money?
“Sorry, we had a bad season.” “Jimmy needs braces.” “Bonnie’s getting married to John-Boy.” “We have to pay Mike for a new generator.” … ad infinitum, ad nauseum, et al.
The easiest way to tax, is sales-tax. Look at cigarettes and vehicle fuels in the US, in particular. A significant portion(more tha 50% of the price) of those sales are State and Federal taxes, without which we’d all have crappy hospitals, colleges, roads and highways, to say the least. Want to control those taxes? Control City/State/National taxes with legal constraints, fewer purchases or move where they are lower(reducing the tax-base)… Go to the “Smith Colony” in the next ocean, make another new community, etc. …
There are cities that cover parks, schools, road-repair, police, fire depts. and such through nothing more than sales taxes and fines for offenses. No property tax, no income tax. Use that as a model for these floating cities and city-states, expand it for the new Nation.
If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reefJanuary 20, 2010 at 10:17 am #9291
Lots of chatter here about how great it’ll be not to pay taxes.
- Well, that kinda sorta depends on if you can actually get out from under the thumb of the man, doesn’t it? Paying fees for flying a flag of convenience is a tax.
- Who says that the offset from not paying official taxes to a government wouldn’t be less than the entry and maintenance costs of a seastead? In fact, I suspect that a sea stead lifestyle vs a land-based lifestyle will be more expensive than paying taxes by a good bit.
You’ll either do it because you want the challenge, or because principle is more important than money (perhaps because you already have enough), or because there is literally no other alternative- maybe the People’s Republic of Shithole where you live is going to kill your second child for population control, or they’re purging redheads this year, or just stealing so much you’re going to starve anyway.
Seasteads will have to pay taxes, namely, the import tariffs of the nations with which they trade. For those “enlightened” nations who have fewer tariffs, there’s still the universal tariff, called inflation. Murray Rothbard explains in an online lecture I heard recently that inflation acts as a subsidy of a nation’s exports and tariff on its imports. This is the case because, as Nation A’s currency is devalued by inflation, it becomes easier for other nations to buy goods made in Nation A and more costly for businesses in Nation A to import goods from other nations. If Nation A devalues its currency by 10%, then goods and services purchased from Nation B will cost more but goods purchased by Nation B from Nation A will cost less. Hence, the people of Nation A pay more for their imports and the exporters in Nation A receive a proportional boost in profits. So, inflation behaves very similarly to a tariff, transferring wealth from the public to the merchant class.
Let’s say there is a Seastead that uses gold as a currency and to purchase goods from this Seastead, you must pay in gold. Goods produced in this Seasted will become ever more costly to buy for inhabitants of nations where fiat money is used because of the progressive devaluation of their currency. Of course, the imports will become ever cheaper but the time delay between the increase in costs to foreign importers to the decrease in costs to the Seastead’s importers will ensure that the gold-currency Seastead is always facing an uphill battle to export its goods. In other words, it’s being taxed.
Let’s say the Seastead manages to produce goods that are in demand despite the inflationary tariff. In this case, the importing nations may become more blatant. The European Commission recently fined Intel Corp. (full disclosure: I work for Intel) $1.45 billion. This is pay to play… “If you want to keep selling your product here, pay this fine for _________ (insert bullshit reason here) or we’re kicking you out.” No matter what, seasteads will pay taxes.
The good news is that Seasteads run by smart people will likely have no import tariffs and hopefully permit the use of sound, non-inflationary currency for inter-Seastead transactions. If they do, then production on the Seastead has a real advantage over land-based production. Since the cost of importing goods to a Seastead will be constantly declining, Seastead producers will be facing a downhill slope for acquisition of production goods. To get around the time-lag problem mentioned above, Seastead arbitrageurs could import goods with national fiat currencies and then mark them up slightly to be sold in gold or whatever currency is in use on the Seastead itself. This would enable Seasteads to do what economically clueless governments ought to be doing, eliminating their import tariffs and ending inflation. But if the governments of the world want to keep shooting their economies in the foot, so be it.
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