April 14, 2008

Introducing The Seasteading Institute

Organization Aims To Create New Societies On The Ocean

Mountain View, CA, April 15th, 2008.

The Seasteading Institute today announced that it has been established in order to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems.  It will continue and expand on the work of Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich, authors of "Seasteading: A Practical Guide to Homesteading the High Seas".

"The public sector is simultaneously the largest industry in the world and the least innovative, with a barrier to entry and lock-in on its customers that dwarfs any private monopoly", says Patri Friedman, TSI’s Executive Director. "The world needs a new model of politics where a diverse ecosystem of providers offers a variety of institutions that evolve to serve their citizens. The open oceans, Earth’s last frontier, are the ideal place to nurture this vision of a better world. By making it safe and affordable to settle this frontier, we will give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get."

To help launch the organization, entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Thiel has pledged $500,000 to The Seasteading Institute, saying: “Accelerating innovation is rapidly transforming the world: the Seasteading Institute will help bring more of that innovation to the public sector, where it’s vitally needed. Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world. We’re at a fascinating juncture: the nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level."

The Institute will initially focus on three major areas:

  • Community: Building a network of potential residents who are inspired by the possibilities of seasteading and have the skills and resources to establish vibrant new communities.
  • Research: Exploring the core requirements for seasteading to be safe and affordable, such as structure design, political feasibility, and infrastructure (power, heat, food) and advancing key seasteading technologies through independent research and partnerships.
  • Engineering: Proving that the mission is viable by building a safe, cost-effective, gorgeous seastead, based in the San Francisco Bay and able to travel in the open ocean.

For more information, see the Institute’s website,


The Seasteading Institute

(The Seasteading Institute is a California nonprofit corporation that is in the process of applying for recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.)


3 Comments on “Introducing The Seasteading Institute

M.J. Taylor (from Reason to Freedom)
April 30, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Well seasteading should have a better chance than the FSP, since you don’t have to deal with fixing an already corrupted system…

How about having a non-propaganda school system on one of the seasteads? At least it would solve the cash problem.

And I added this Press Release to our site so you’d get some exposure.

Best regards,

M.J. Taylor

May 22, 2008 at 1:32 am

 @ steve

I do get the skepticism. However I disagree that spending those $500,000 studying seasteading and taking the first steps toward making it a reality is a bad idea.

All other approaches have one thing in common: they work within the system to some extent, or directly against it. This one works around it (it cannot possibly ignore it altogether). This is a huge barrier we won’t have to deal with.

Oh wait.. the traditional approaches have another thing in common: they failed (or will likely fail)!

@ M.J. Taylor

The FSP is a great concept. Seasteading is essentially the same thing, but with a different set of barriers (more technological/societal than political). I am a member and I should be moving from France to New Hampshire in a couple months. However this is by no means my final destination. Deep down I have no illusions. At the most we’ll slow down the growth of the tumor but we won’t be removing it.

I’m glad the FSP and other competing projects are out there. I for one see more hope in seasteading, even with the technological barriers, than in any reform project undertaking to convert existing governments to libertarianism. Even in its watered down version (see the LP for that) it is still too fringe of an ideology to ever succeed.

Freedom lies in city states on the ocean, with easy mobility so malcontents can more easily move from one place to a radically different one. When it becomes less onerous to move than to reform, we will be able to keep more distinctive societies as opposed to this essentially similar blend of socialism that has spread to most of the world. From communes to anarcho capitalist societies.. I can see the sea becoming a gigantic societal lab for all sorts of fringe ideologies to be tried, where one size never has to fit all. Socialism is likely to remain the main ideology in the world for centuries to come, and that is fine by me, so long as I can enjoy my own with a smaller group of like minded individuals.

The technological challenges are great. The political ones are not to be overestimated. Powerful nations will likely not exert overt force upon peaceful and respectful people. A more plausible reaction would be trade sanctions, communication blackouts or even embargoes.. things that can be every bit as devastating.

Unfortunately the above is likely to happen, and the only tool against it is public opinion. The trend is definitely toward more centralization and internationalization. Central institutions are unlikely to view seasteading as a positive force in the world and may very well attempt to stop it.

(mr.) kelly rude
May 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm

greetings, i am a design journalist based in toronto and have contributed to various int’l journals; and would be keen to learn more about  volunteering to participate in the first  experiment in living aboard the seasteading. thanks in advance, (mr.) kelly rude 

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