Monthly Archives: September 2008

Extreme Skating on Sealand


Via Sean Hastings:

THE world of extreme sports regularly sees its top athletes travel to some of the most unusual or exotic locations in order to carry out death-defying feats.

But never before have a group of international star skateboarders taken to the high seas as they did recently off the Essex coast.

The daredevils descended on the controversial “micronation” of Sealand, a former wartime fortress located six miles off Harwich. 

After being winched onto the weather-beaten outpost, the skaters performed a series of stunts that took them to the very edge of the platform, more than 100ft up in the air.

The article includes a video of the event.

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Beat High Housing Costs – On the High Seas!

Mountain View, CA, August 18th, 2008.

Seastead picDespite the recent downturn in real estate, the cost of a new home in many parts of the country remains beyond the reach of many people.  For example, the median home price in the San Francisco Bay area hovers around half a million dollars. The Seasteading Institute, a new non-profit (*) based in Mountain View, CA hopes to reduce housing costs in a unique fashion — by promoting the colonization of the oceans.

"Building houses in the U.S. is heavily regulated, so the supply of new housing grows very slowly.  As a result, the price of housing remains high." said Seasteading Institute founder Patri Friedman.  A study by University of Washington economics professor Theo Eicher found that between 1989 and 2006, the median inflation-adjusted price of a Seattle house more than doubled from $221,000 to $447,800.  According to that study, fully $200,000 of that increase was the result of land-use regulations.

"There is plenty of room on the ocean, and by building there we can avoid the costs imposed by zoning and land-use regulation.  Seasteads can be built anywhere in the world, then towed into place, so we can save costs by hiring third-world labor, while benefiting poor countries.  Floating homes are also protected against rising oceans from global warming."

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Vote With Your House

Mountain View, CA, August 18th, 2008.

If the Seasteading Institute has its way, you will soon be able to relocate your house–or even your entire town–as easily as you move your car.  

"We are going to build permanent floating settlements on the ocean.  The first prototype will likely be built in the sheltered waters of the San Francisco Bay, but future designs will be capable of withstanding open ocean conditions." says Patri Friedman, founder of the Mountain View based non-profit.  The Institute recently received some substantial backing for their approach, in the form of a $500,000 grant from Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel. 

Unlike some past projects which envisioned enormous, multi-billion dollar cities, The Seasteading Institute advocates a modular, incremental approach, where cities are built up one block, or even one house, at a time.  Patri says: "Cruise ships already demonstrate that people can live on the ocean in big, movable buildings at reasonable cost.  We’ve got a slightly different design: we’re going to build a city out of interconnected floating platforms.  That way you’ll be able to move cities, and take your house and yard with you!  And we are designing these platforms to be comparable in cost to high-end land-based homes."

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Competitive Government vs. Democratic Government

 Arnold Kling has a paper (PDF) which is directly relevant to the political motivation for seasteading:

In this essay, I will suggest that competitive government might be better than democratic government at satisfying the desires of the governed. In democratic government, people take jurisdictions as given, and they elect leaders. In competitive government, people take leaders as given, and they select jurisdictions.

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