June 21, 2008

Las Vegas: Resort -> City

We think one of the most promising initial business models for a seastead is as an offshore resort: "Las Vegas on the ocean, but with less rules" is the sound bite.  (Of course, there will be many other differences, such as radical self-government and experimentation with new ways of getting along – this is just about the business model).  One natural concern people have is whether such a business can give rise to a diverse economy and a full city, with schools, doctors, libraries, etc.  This is also related to the "Would you really want to live in a wretched hive of scum and villainy?" question we sometimes get.

Las Vegas shows that such a path is quite realistic, since it started as a gambling outpost, and became the fasting-growing city in America.  Sure, the tourists were transient, but the successful resort industry created construction and service jobs.  Those jobs brought in a local population that wanted all the diverse goods and services that are standard in our economy, which meant lots of other jobs.  Also, over time the resort industry led to a population of retirees, who were there for a permanent vacation.

Those retirees who like the glitzy Strip (and can afford it) go there, while others go to cheaper locals dives.  And while the resorts may be built on gambling, the neighborhoods look much like those in any other city.  We will seek to similarly parlay seastead tourism and retirement into a flourishing local economy.

Just because a city thrives on low regulation and "sin industries" doesn’t mean it won’t be a nice place to live.


2 Comments on “Las Vegas: Resort -> City

June 21, 2008 at 10:59 pm
  • The Las Vegas analogy is very good. As far as I know it was built in the middle of the desert, essentially creating great value and a highly successful society out of a very inhospitable area, much like the idea of seasteading.
  • A city with less regulation is likely to be a lot nicer, in fact. Because that will force you to consider your fellow men and women rather than some anonymous regulation.


September 11, 2008 at 2:32 am

If anyone is interested in having drugs be part of the attraction of a tourist seastead, just remember Manuel Noriega. You may think you are in international waters and US jurisdiction does not apply. However, the US does not think their “war on drugs” has to stop at a 200 mile limit. When boats with big guns show up and say you are in trouble because someone brought some drugs from your seastead into California, you will really be in trouble. Panama’s sovereignty was more secure than any seastead’s sovereignty will be for a long time. Noriega got locked up for drugs.

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