UN or other global body's protection?
November 26, 2008 at 3:07 am #760
After being established for some time, and depending on how large of a community can be gathered over time, what would be the possiblility of getting recognition through the UN or another global body, such as the groups who write up the conventions/rules for international waters? Not being recognized so much for being another nation on the scale of others, but asking for some sort of recognition of independance? Globalization can be worrying if it makes everybody the same as everyone else, or it could work to protect you in your own individuality, depending. http://www.seasteading.org/seastead.org/commented/paper/ocean.html#Approach_SummaryNovember 26, 2008 at 5:50 am #4346
The UN will be banner flown by the first people coming to sink your platform. The established states don’t like competition.
UNCLOS seems to be written specifically to make new nations at sea illegal. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/November 26, 2008 at 12:05 pm #4348
This is a public relations/image issue.
If the seasteaders are perceived by the public as being a bunch of tax-avoiding, drug-dealing, prostitution-soliciting social pariahs, yeah we can expect the UN or some other gang of thugs to come shut us down.
But if seasteaders are perceived as being on a quest to free poor downtrodden people from their oppressive governments, it will be a much different story. If we play the public image card right, it’s not unthinkable that we could even get funding from do-gooder organizations like the Gates foundation or Christian charities.November 26, 2008 at 7:58 pm #4357
I hadn’t thought about using seasteads that way. Imagine how much misery could have been avoided if there had been some (well armed) seasteads off the coast of Viet Nam when people were trying to leave by boat. Rather than attempting to make it all the way to another country’s shore, people would only have to make it across 12 miles.November 27, 2008 at 3:12 pm #4362
That’s been in the “Seastead ventures” on the wiki for a long time: http://wiki.seasteading.org/index.php/Refugee_market
That’s another comparative advantage of being able to move your country anywhere to as close as 12 miles off any coast.November 29, 2008 at 11:20 am #4371
Except that 12 miles would have been within easy range of the Vietnamese communist navy, which would have had bigger guns than the seastead. Would it have been “against the rules” for the navy to attack the seastead? Of course, but the real rules are: “whoever has the bigger guns makes the rules.”November 29, 2008 at 6:35 pm #4373
Was the Vietnamese navy actively trying to suppress the exodus?November 30, 2008 at 1:34 pm #4372
Stated acknowledgement and acceptance offers at least some level of protection. Perhaps not immediate protection, you need your own defenses for that, but at a minimum they would not interfere with you, officially, and at most could suppourt you economically and strategically. The big guns we could carry on a seastead could suffice for on the spot protection, but we’d probably need some help somewhere along the way, particulary with something as tempting as a mobile town/country.
Take the commonwealth example. The Bermudian government is independant, not 100%, but we have in effect done as we like, with the knowledge that we can become fully independant anytime we like with the UK’s suppourt. In foregoing absolute independance we have the resources of the UK, and the EU, behind us ultimately. That 600 lb gorilla got tired of a lot of struggle & fighting, got tired of having of a bad rep (even the big gorillas like to have other countries as friends), and now with the colonies as a rule is content to suppourt any outside majority in whatever way they themselves see fit. Located as we are closer to the US than to anywhere else in the world (indeed there is nothing else anywhere around here), we have a solid relationship with them as well. Granted, a quiet little island like Bermuda is not going to need the big guns anytime soon, but we have been around for a long time and people have had plenty of time since the era of Columbus to get used to us, unlike the concept of a seastead. I hope that more than anything else, a seastead would be selling its own brand of freedom, not just for ideas, but for another collective way of life. Could ruffle some feathers, that. We’d need some friends.
Could also keep in mind that first impressions last for a long time in people’s minds. If people develop a progressively negative view/impression of the existence/independance of a brand new seastead, what happens when the engineering/technology advances to the point where we could truly create something autonomous/auto-sufficient the size of a city or a small island country. It isn’t going be accepted as independant initially, but that would be the goal to move to, starting from day one. An established seastead possibly wouldn’t escape their direct, hands-on focus for too much time, for them to totally leave it be within the existing legal framework. It could fly under the radar for only so long, before some situation occurred to force a large 1,000 lb gorilla to eventually take a definitive stand either to respect a seastead’s ideals or not.
It’s also a stray thought to throw in here, but it’s not impssible to say that eventually, in the time of our grandchildren, or maybe theirs, we could colonize other planets. I know it’s a stretch to say we would be creating precedents for this with seasteads, as it is in another country’s backyard, but the basic concept of new land & new groups forming is similar, and the social mind sometimes takes a few hundred years to change its way of thinking. If the groundwork can be laid in being recognized and accepted globally, it opens up a lot of possibilities for future freedoms as well.December 2, 2008 at 12:49 pm #4388
It’s also a stray thought to throw in here, but it’s not impssible to say that eventually, in the time of our grandchildren, or maybe theirs, we could colonize other planets. I know it’s a stretch to say we would be creating precedents for this with seasteads, as it is in another country’s backyard
A seastead in international waters is no more in “anyone´s back yard” than a space colony around another planet or even in a different solar system. Everyone has their own back yard, and it is theirs exclusively and no one elses.
A nation state trying to impose it´s will in international waters is deeply hypocritical, because there is no way it will also extend any benefits of that particular state to that particular area. You can´t have your cake and eat it too.December 3, 2008 at 11:03 am #4394
The flag that the seastead flies is one aspect, though each person on that seastead has the rights to citizenship in a particular country. Benefits are available to its citizens when they come back, unless you renounce that tie. Limited benefits are available through embassies, as well, although that may not apply on a seastead. Benefits to a group of citizens in an outside area may also include the possibility of a type of strategic/military back-up, such as a rescue service or an offer of protection in times of war.To use this example, any Bermudian has access to two passports, a Bermudian one and a British one. If I am in Britain, I receive benefits just as any citizen of the country, with rights as a member of the EU, as well. Should say, though, that this does not go both ways. Citizens of the UK would find it difficult to obtain Bermudian citizenship, as would the citizens of any other country. The UK are obliged to provide protection to Bermuda in a time of war or other extreme distress. Aside from that, we do not receive benefits, living geographically outside the UK and out of the reach of the British government on a local level. Also, with the UK citizenship, we are still under laws that apply to us no matter where we are in the world, such as child porn, etc.Being the citizen of a country gives them reason enough to consider imposing their will on you outside of their borders. I wouldn’t want to renounce my citizenship for greater protections of individual rights on a seastead. In an ideal world, a dual citizenship, one being to an established seastead, could offer the best of both worlds…better than a lack of citizenship altogether.December 4, 2008 at 3:55 pm #4402
Idanthology mentioned in a previous post about embassies, and that got me thinking. Any large seastead could have a handful of embassies from other countries present (small countries that may even jump at the chance to get some international attention, however slight), with relatively little expense to the seastead, and that would nearly eliminate the possibility of other governments attacking or otherwise outwardly harming the seastead, as it would have direct impact on the relations of those countries that have embassies present. We can get countries like Liechtenstein, Monaco, Cayman Islands, Andorra, Bora Bora, etc., on board and that could very well add a level of exoticness to the community and increase the oppurtunities for networking along with the aforementioned levels of added security. The more nations an act of aggression is against, the less likely that it will occur.
Thoughts?December 4, 2008 at 5:14 pm #4406
Wouldn’t countries rather float their own seastead embassies ?December 5, 2008 at 5:39 am #4410
I don’t know if you can have an embassy from another country unless you have more clarification for the idea of the sovereignty of a seastead. But governments will still offer backing and support, if there is something substantial in it to them. Normally one could support independence if there have been generations of people there who look for it, there has been some history to it. This can be simply altruistic, just because it’s the right thing to do for the people, or it can be because the new nation will follow your type/system of government, reinforcing your government’s model, or there is something that is valuable in that area under a less than amenable current government. For instance, a young US with its resources did this from the UK way back when. By and large, though, this does not quite fit a seastead…the independence cry of “free the people” sounds hollow if the people have just moved there recently of their own accord. Acknowledged independence would not come cheaply, but a seastead could definitely offer something valuable for people to make it more attractive in an altruistic sense, something more than seemingly detached and self-serving, while still making money to support itself and have fun.In some commodities trading, I came across several examples of countries that don’t easily have the funds to hand in the public or private sectors, in the short to medium term, to develop the large projects to produce the necessities. Instead of putting all of that money up front they are leasing or making use of something brought in by an outsider. In one example, the Dominican Republic is now a relatively stable country, plenty of people vacation there without undue worry for safety. But they are having problems with the money for energy. They are not producing enough power to supply all of the country on a steady basis. One independent foreign company set up large-scale generators on barges to add to the supply and make some money. Still not even close to being enough energy for the country, though.Instability does not attract a lot of foreign investment or encourage local development. For example, Haiti, the Congos, some countries in South America, these are some of the places that I can think of offhand that have been or are in this situation, they still need to eat. A basic staple includes flour for bread, etc. If the number of flour mills in the entire country numbers one to none, then someone can move in to get a piece of a virtually guaranteed market, as long as they can supply enough to be competitive. Being mobile gives you the advantage of pulling away when things get too hot to handle, but just the fact that you can’t walk to a seastead means that riots, government takeovers, etc. would not naturally flow your way. Of course, the distance makes it a bit harder for you to get your product to the mainland, but it’s still comparatively easier/cheaper than for them to ship in flour from another country far away. A concerted effort by pirates may be a concern if you were isolated out in international waters. You would also need to accommodate the receipt of many, many metric tons of wheat to process on a regular basis. Space would be expensive to build into a seastead. Too bad the wheat couldn’t be grown on a seastead in such volumes. The UN or other countries/groups would probably look towards supporting you directly if you were doing something to help these countries to lessen the pressure to maintain themselves. Perhaps you could even take another step, putting the skills of the people on a seastead to work to help the country grow, develop infrastructure, reopen businesses and become more self-sufficient, while using their enormous, untapped resources for your own growth. This would avoid an image of seasteading as anything remotely elitist or escapist, but as a relevant and valuable member of the global community. For instance, the US NIC’s report on Global Trends 2025 http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html predicts that Haiti will be pretty much in the same state, if not much worse, by that time. You take on some of that problem and the UN should have to take you seriously. The world continues to change and grow…something as unique as seasteading could become a positive part of that growth.Here in Bermuda, we are doing relatively well, with one of the highest incomes per capita in the world https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2004rank.html and low unemployment, but the island is so tiny that we just don’t have the room to grow our own food or manufacture goods, and generally import just about everything there is. Although I would much prefer to have fresh food rather than imported, as I know many on the island would like cheaper foods grown locally, it would not be that easy to be convincing politically, when it is so difficult to put aside landspace for this and it is so easy, though expensive, to import. Self-sufficiency is important for any country, I believe, regardless. One source of this income in Bermuda is based on being a tax-free haven, fewer regulations, for a huge chunk of international business. Historically, we have had support from the US and Europe to develop into this market years ago. Although lucrative, this is not exactly something as altruistic as supplying the basic necessities of life. As much as I have high hopes and respect for Obama in the upcoming US presidency, one of the things that came up during his run-up to the election is shutting down the availability of such from the US. Hopefully not, it is a healthy part of the free market as a whole, but if so, Bermuda will have to be able to adapt.December 5, 2008 at 11:06 am #4412
Wouldn’t Bermuda be a great place for TSI to test “making land” ? I mean, if the one thing that is really missing there is space and place for more development, then making some more is the obvious solution to explore. And since Bermuda cannot really do it the way the Netherlands did (pushing off the sea and settling on below-sea-level land), new ways have to be tried. Making and testing artificial expansions of islands seems to me the natural step towards building entire artificial islands.
“Space would be expensive to build into a seastead. Too bad the wheat couldn’t be grown on a seastead in such volumes.”
I dispute the belief that space should be in short supply on a seastead. The ocean is the vastest place on this planet, so building anything there should take this fact into account and make ample advantage of there being no practical limit in (horizontal) dimensions. It is time we snapped out of the “tiny” mindset: we’re supposed to make the ocean liveable, the last thing we’ll run short of is more place.December 5, 2008 at 4:52 pm #4420
Average price for foreigners is $2.8 mil for 1/4 acre with house. House alone is like $250/sq-foot.
For $5,000/month you can get a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo, but this would have no frills, probably no view.
A seastead should rent for more as it would have a nice view.
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