August 26, 2011

The Seasteading Institute’s position on the recent Details article

Seasteading has recently received a lot of media attention after an article published in Details on August 13 has been picked up by numerous media outlets, including the front page of Yahoo! News.

While we enjoy the publicity, we would also like to point out that the following two paragraphs aren’t exactly accurate, and have been misinterpreted by other media outlets who ran stories without seeking verification from us:

Architectural plans for a prototype involve a movable, diesel-powered, 12,000-ton structure with room for 270 residents, with the idea that dozens—perhaps even hundreds—of these could be linked together. Friedman hopes to launch a flotilla of offices off the San Francisco coast next year; full-time settlement, he predicts, will follow in about seven years; and full diplomatic recognition by the United Nations, well, that’ll take some lawyers and time.

While we’re researching such architectural plans, there are not any plans to build such a seastead in the near future. Friedman isn’t launching an office flotilla next year. However, our former staff members are developing a business that will take place on a ship off the coast of Silicon Valley:

"The ultimate goal," Friedman says, "is to open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government." This translates into the founding of ideologically oriented micro-states on the high seas, a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

The later part of this paragraph is the author’s interpretation, not ours. For one thing, while seasteads might not have the same building codes that one would find in a highly regulated city, there is a minimum of naval engineering that will have to be implemented in order to survive the ocean. For some reason all these other media outlets have picked up this paragraph and are quoting it as if that’s what Peter Thiel or The Seasteading Institute think.

Lastly, there is a distinction between The Seasteading Institute and Peter Thiel and donors in general. Of course, Thiel is our most generous funder, but this doesn’t mean that he dictates our plans. We do solicit feedback from our donors, however they become our donors because they believe in our vision and existing plans. While it is possible that the first seastead will be operated by libertarian entrepreneurs who wish to opt-out of the status quo, The Seasteading Institute remains steadfast about being apolitical and desires to see the creation of thousands of innovative governments on seasteads competing for citizens.