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August 21, 2018

Landsteading? Read “Free Private Cities” by Titus Gebel

I read this book with enormous pleasure. No fallacy can stop the power of an idea that has been articulated by a leader who can make it happen.

The startup societies movement, of which seasteading is a part, has long needed an expert in both business and international law to explain comprehensively why entrepreneurs can provide superb governance that satisfies their customers. That expert is Titus Gebel, and here’s why:

Dr. Titus Gebel is an eminent German entrepreneur with an MBA and a PhD in international law. He served as Managing Director of the oil and gas company Rhein Petroleum GmbH, co-founded and headed the mining company Deutsche Rohstoff AG, then founded Free Private Cities Inc. to create an entirely new product in the “market of living together”. 

We are honored Dr. Gebel chose to serve on the The Seasteading Institute Board of Trustees. We have benefited greatly from his experience.

“Given voluntary cooperation, anything is possible.” —Titus Gebel

Titus Gebel startled the German business world when he retired from his successful companies and vowed to devote the rest of his life by making Free Private Cities a reality. His new book Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete For You has received strong press in Germany, and now is available in English. Here’s the pitch:

Imagine a system in which a private company offers you protection of life, liberty and property as a “government service provider”. This service includes internal and external security, a legal and regulatory framework and independent dispute resolution. You pay a contractually fixed fee for these services per year. The government service provider, as the operator of the community, cannot unilaterally change this “citizens’ contract” with you later on…

One of my favorite moments in the book is this:

The objections to the concept of Free Private Cities are essentially divided into two areas: “It won’t work” and “I don’t like it”. I will now address the most frequent …

The reasoning is relentless, the evidence illuminating, and the business case irresistible. I collected so many quotes I’m left with little choice but to feature those that confirm my barely detectable bias on behalf of seasteading.

Not only does Titus Gebel describe the virtues of seasteading on pages 11, 155 and 251, he quotes Patri’s thesis from the seasteading book on page 254:

In the seasteading worldview, any set of rules is okay, as long as the residents consent to it voluntarily and can leave whenever they choose. We believe that citizens must opt in to a society with informed consent to an explicit social contract, and they must have the freedom to exit if they no longer believe that society is serving them. As long as those conditions hold, the details of that contract are not our concern.

Titus quotes me at a chapter heading on page 264 thusly:

“The best societies that flourish in 2050 will not subscribe to today’s ideologies.”     — Joe Quirk, Seavangelist

Since his company Free Private Cities Inc. is basically seasteading on land, I volunteered to perform voiceover for their video. You may notice a seastead in the background of the video at the one-minute mark!

Let’s leverage our contacts to get this book in the hands of distinguished reviewers in prominent publications. If you enjoy the book as much as I did, write an amazon review.

And if you like where we’re going with our team of advisors, please support the Institute.

See you on a Floating Free Private City,

Joe Quirk