Press Mentions


PanAm Podcast with Joe Quirk: How Floating Nations Will Reshape Our World

PanAmPost, 11 April, 2017

Joe Quirk has been described as a “seavangelist”; in his work with The Seasteading Institute, he argues that new floating nation states, facilitated by the institute’s innovative technology, will revolutionize the world. Founded in 2008, with a philanthropic grant of $500,000 by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, the Seasteading Institute (TSI) presents a libertarian vision of the future where this new technology will provide an opportunity for new societies to offer the greatest degree of economic, political, and social freedoms to their citizens…

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Seasteading’s Challenge to the Perennial Salon

Libertarian Institute, 27 March, 2017

For sure the concept of seasteading is a bit of an ideological Rorschach test, and that is at least a considerable part of its charm. Quirk and Friedman have their own ideas but never presume to know what is best for everyone. Instead they’re leaving humanity with the intellectual scaffolding to challenge existing orders. With seven hundred million people dreaming of life somewhere else, crying in the darkness of what amounts to a grand DNA lottery (most of us just happened to land on this side of the gated community), the time to take Quirk and Friedman seriously is right now…

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The Floating Utopias of the Future

Wall Street Journal, 24 March, 2017

“New city-states in international waters could eventually house as many as a billion people.”

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Îles flottantes : le Seasteading Institute à la rencontre des scientifiques

La Dépêche de Tahiti, 21 March, 2017

Devant des chercheurs, les représentants du Seasteading Institute ont mis en avant les indéniables opportunités de recherche scientifique et sociologique et demandé leur collaboration sur toute la durée du projet. Ils sont finalement tombés d’accord sur le principe de la création très prochaine d’un comité directeur scientifique, baptisé Polynesia First.

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Faced with rising seas, French Polynesia ponders floating islands

Reuters, 20 March, 2017

When former Google software engineer Patri Friedman came up with the idea of building floating islands, he had in mind an unusual buyer: Libertarians, seeking freedom to live beyond the reach of governments.

But his futuristic plan has now found a new, motivated and very different audience – small islands halfway around the world that are slowly being submerged by sea level rise.

The Pacific nation of French Polynesia, looking for a potential lifeline as global warming takes hold, in January became the first country to sign an agreement to deploy the floating islands off its coast.

“Dreams belong to those who want to move forward and make them happen,” said Jean-Christophe Bouissou, the country’s housing minister, at a San Francisco ceremony where he inked a memorandum of understanding with The Seasteading Institute

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Floating countries of the future – this could be your new home

ABC Australia, 14 March, 2017

Do you love the ocean? Are you an innovator? Are you sick and tired of old models of government that are stuck in the last century?

If you answered yes to the above, consider seasteading; it’s like Waterworld but without the mutants.

The idea is to build politically independent countries that float on the ocean, and the concept might not be as far-out as you think…

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The plan to create ocean colonies on the high seas

ABC Lateline, 13 March, 2017

Imagine a cruise ship that never docks which hosts a tiny nation – independently governed and welcoming to innovators. Margot O’Neill explores the brave new world of seasteads.

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Why French Polynesia Could Have the World’s First Floating City

Architectural Digest, February 24, 2017

The California nonprofit organization—which has currently raised about $2.5 million from more than 1,000 interested donors—is spearheading a plan called the Floating City Project. The blueprint is to build a cluster of buoyant dwellings that showcases innovations in solar power, sustainable aquaculture, and ocean-based wind farms. Recently, the French Polynesian government signed a historic agreement with the Seasteading Institute to work together on a legal framework to allow for the development of the Floating Island Project…

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World’s first floating city to be developed in French Polynesia

Dutch Water Sector, February 22, 2017

The government of French Polynesia signed an historic agreement that allows the development of the first floating city in a lagoon off its most populated island of Tahiti.

The agreement was signed with the Californian Seasteading Institute in January. Dutch company Blue21 is involved in the engineering of the modular floating platforms for such a city in the Pacific Ocean.

Studies into the project should reach completion by 2018 and parties hope to be able to start construction of the world’s first floating city by 2019. The costs for a first pilot are estimated between 10 and 50 million US dollars…

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Schwimmende Städte: Zu Hause auf dem Ozean

Spiegel Online, February 16, 2017

“Bold visionaries dream of founding new nations with their own legislation.”

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French Polynesia Plans Floating Island

Maritime Executive, February 12, 2017

Days after signing the MOU Bouissou expressed his global vision for a floating innovation hub on TNTV in Tahiti. Speaking on behalf of “Polynesian youth who want to get involved in these research fields,” he said:

“Polynesia is the haven where all things are possible. It is the Blue Frontier in the Great Pacific. It is also a country which had shown that its population wishes to forge ahead.”

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As Climate Change Accelerates, Floating Cities Look Like Less of a Pipe Dream

New York Times Australia, January 27, 2017

Mr. Hencken said that he expected the project to eventually include dozens of artificial islands and that similar projects could someday be built in other atoll nations or coastal areas threatened by rising sea levels. He added that the cost of housing would decrease as the so-called island platforms became cheaper to manufacture.

“I certainly don’t think this is a project that is exclusively for the wealthy,” he said, adding that his background was in social justice activism.

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Le protocole d’accord entre le Pays et le Seasteading Institute dévoilé

La Dépêche de Tahiti, January 26, 2017

“Young people immediately understand the value of the concept and they contact us by saying “What can I do?” At first, they will be able to do internships with us. But I know that eventually we will hire highly qualified Tahitians.”

“What is the nest step?”

“It is divided into three points ….”

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French Polynesia signs first ‘floating city’ deal

BBC, January 17, 2017

French Polynesia has signed an agreement that supporters hope could pave the way for autonomous floating cities around the world.

The tiny Pacific state signed a memorandum of understanding with California’s Seasteading Institute in San Francisco on Friday.

It outlined objectives the institute must meet to get possible go-ahead for its first “seastead” community, off the island of Tahiti.

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Plans for world’s first ‘floating city’ unveiled: Radical designs could be built in the Pacific Ocean in 2019

DailyMail, January 17, 2017

The experimental floating landscapes could test new ideas on how to feed the hungry, cure the sick, clean the atmosphere and enrich the poor, for example.

French Polynesia, a collection of 118 islands in the southern Pacific, is interested in the project as the area is at risk from rising sea levels.

If inhabitants disagree with the city’s government, they could paddle their colony to another city, forcing governments to work to attract citizens.

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Plans For World’s First “Floating City” To Be Built In The Pacific In Two Years’ Time

IFLScience, January 17, 2017

“The government of French Polynesia…expressed interest in the project as rising sea levels is a very real threat to them and a permanent floating city could be an innovative way to deal with future displacement…

The city must benefit the local economy and it must prove environmentally friendly. If these can be met, draft legislation will be drawn up next year and construction is expected to begin in 2019.”

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World’s First Floating City to Combat Rising Sea Levels

EcoWatch, January 17, 2017

In an effort to adapt to climate change, French Polynesian government officials signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with San Francisco’s Seasteading Institute to jumpstart the development of the world’s first self-sufficient floating city.

“The possibilities are endless,” Hencken said.

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World’s first custom-built floating city to rise off French Polynesian waters

ABC Australia, January 16, 2017

After signing a memorandum of understanding with the French Polynesian Government, it is hopeful construction can start by 2019.

The institute’s executive director, Randolph Hencken, told Pacific Beat finding a host nation was a significant milestone.

He said the next steps involved economic and environmental impact studies as well as legal investigations to figure out the special governing framework the institute believes is crucial to the ongoing success of its floating communities.

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Seasteading Institute Comes to Agreement with French Polynesia About Developing a Seastead

Reason, January 13, 2017

Joe Quirk has a fascinating and convincing book on Seasteading out in March (co-written with Seasteading Institute founder Patri Friedman) in which the ecological and business advantages of using the ocean are frontloaded, just as they are in the agreement with French Polynesia.

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Oceantop Living in a Seastead – Realistic, Sustainable, and Coming Soon

Huffington Post, December 10, 2016

“Apart from experimenting with innovations in governance, [Executive Director] Hencken is also excited about the potential for seasteading to serve as a platform for developing tools to help with climate change adaptation as well.

Low-lying islands in the Pacific, like Kiribati and parts of French Polynesia, face the imminent threat of disappearing because of sea level rise. Hencken believes that seasteading offers one practical solution for these places to create new, resilient territory on which to continue to exist … Hencken looks forward to working with French Polynesia’s youth in building new ocean tech that can benefit the island nation and subsequently be spun out to places in need of new land. He said that once they’ve built a successful pilot, he can imagine deploying similar seasteads to places like Miami and Bangladesh.”

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Can housing solutions be found on the ocean?

The San Diego Union-Tribune, December 8, 2016

“A proponent of seasteading recently suggested to me that offshore housing could provide a financing base to change the economics of desalination. Plans to turn ocean water into drinking water have long been considered costly and inefficient. But man-made islands with desalination plants financed with the proceeds from offshore housing sales on those same islands might change the economics; the reclaimed water could supply these sea cities, thus offering a live experiment for a more sustainable water future.

Seasteading also could mitigate climate change. Sea-based cities would provide a dry run — OK, a wet run — for the not-so-distant future, when rising sea levels inundate California’s greatest coastal cities, forcing millions of us to learn how to live on the ocean. In this way, cities on the sea would ease today’s housing problems — while furthering our climate change leadership and preparations for a watery future.”

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“L’ère aquatique” débutera-t-elle au fenua ?

La Dépêche de Tahiti, September 21, 2016

Last Friday, President Édouard Fritch, surrounded by his ministers Teva Rohfritsch (Blue Economy and Digital Strategy), Jean-Christophe Bouissou (Tourism), Tearii Alpha (Housing), Patrick Howell (Health) and Albert Solia (Equipment) Gaston Tong Sang and Mayor of Makemo, Félix Tokoragi, received the delegation of the Seasteading Institute.

The presentation was considered “professional and elegant”.

For its part, Polynesia could be the laboratory and showcase that the concept of seasteading needs to find a second wind. The fenua has many assets: the Honotua cable, a good level of public safety, a quality medical supply, and skills.

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French Polynesia could become home to the Seasteading Institute’s first floating city after presidential meeting

Factor, September 19, 2016

From an engineering standpoint, the location is ideal due to its range of protected waters while the Polynesian people would benefit from the economic possibilities offered by the Seasteading as well as the potential solutions it offers to rising sea levels.

Former Minister of Tourism for French Polynesia Marc Collins expressed his support for The Seasteading Institute’s vision.

“More than most nations, our islands are impacted by rising sea levels, and resilient floating islands could be one tangible solution for us to maintain our populations anchored to their islands. For many Polynesians, leaving our islands is not an option.”

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Un projet de « cité flottante » présenté au Pays

Radio1 Tahiti, September 16, 2016

“After having visited several places, such as the Raiatea-Tahaa or Tupai lagoons, and Phaeton Bay, the delegation presented its concept to the government, which can also address the problems of rising water levels linked to global warming. After a long exchange, President Edward Fritch agreed on the project’s interest, since it can provide an opportunity for economic development for French Polynesia.”

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Will cities of the future FLOAT? $167 million project using concrete platforms could be home to 300 people by 2020

DailyMail, July 8, 2015

If waking up to a sea breeze and panoramic ocean views is your idea of heaven, you might consider moving to a floating city.

A group of marine biologists, nautical engineers and environmentalists backed by Paypal founder Peter Thiel, plans on building a floating city, or ‘seastead’ as soon as in 2020.

While this may be an ambitious plan, the group has settled on the design and believes semi-independent cities would be the perfect place to try new modes of government and agricultural methods, for example, in a bid to work out how to tackle the world’s problems.

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It’s Happening: Seasteading — Liberty Through Floating Cities

The Tom Woods Show, March 20, 2015

Libertarian talk show host interviews The Seasteading Institute Seavangelist Joe Quirk.

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Seasteading: The Reality TV Show

Reason, February 23, 2015

The Seasteading Institute’s reality TV show gets a mention in Reason.

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Daring Dutch documentary “Cybertopia” features Peter Thiel and Randolph Hencken

Dutch TV, January 25, 2015

This Dutch documentary is the most daring and honest portrayal we’ve seen about the emerging Silicon Valley ethos. It features seasteading, the 6 Californias Initiative, Burning Man, Googleplex, Draper University, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel’s most provocative declarations. Seasteading is featured from 0:50 to 2:50, and again at 40:00. Narration in Dutch but interviews in English. It’s worth watching the entire 48-minute documentary.

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“The City of the Future Bobbing in the Ocean?” with Randolph Hencken

KIJK Magazine January 2015 Issue

This Dutch documentary is the most daring and honest portrayal we’ve seen about the emerging Silicon Valley ethos. It features seasteading, the 6 Californias Initiative, Burning Man, Googleplex, Draper University, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel’s most provocative declarations. Seasteading is featured from 0:50 to 2:50, and again at 40:00. Narration in Dutch but interviews in English. It’s worth watching the entire 48-minute documentary.

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The Seasteading Frontier Podcast with Joe Quirk

Real Clear Radio Hour, December 6, 2014

“Joe Quirk of the Seasteading Institute, who proudly dubs himself a “Seavangelist,” describes how floating communities would encourage governments to act more like companies rather than monopolies and treat citizens more like customers whose loyalty they must earn. Using the cruise industry as a model, Quirk predicts seasteading will become a reality for “aqua-preneurs” by the year 2020.”

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Radical Offshore Living

Power & Market, October 21, 2014

The recent Power & Market Report weekly podcast features an interview with our Executive Director, Randolph Hencken, talking about seasteading and how it can help improve our governments.

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Seasteading Institute Puts Floating City Technology to the Test

Factor, October 20, 2014

The Seasteading Institute, the most high-profile organisation involved in the development of floating cities, has announced that it has begun testing the technology that forms the basis for its planned floating metropolis.

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Has Floating Architecture’s Moment Finally Arrived?

Next City, October 1, 2014

“With the technology and market demand in place, it’s political will and ownership issues that are holding development back. People have trouble imagining an urban future where city halls can be swapped for theaters on opening night, or entire Olympic villages can simply be towed around the world instead of rebuilt every four years.”

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“The Entrepreneurs” Interview Joe Quirk

Monocle, July 14, 2014

Audio interview with Joe Quirk starts at 24:30, when “we go offshore in San Francisco to explore the seasteading scene”. You may need to download the interview to listen.

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Seasteading has enormous potential in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan

e27, July 10, 2014

The Director of Communications at the Seasteading Institute Joe Quirk provides insights into the possibilities of seasteading and how Asia Pacific can benefit from it.

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Are Floating Cities the Wave of the Future?

Bloomberg TV, June 10, 2014

Patri Friedman, Chairman of the Seasteading Institute, and Randy Hencken, Executive Director, discuss the feasibility of floating cities with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.”

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All Aboard! Could Floating City-States Free From Government Interference Be the Wave of the Future?

Bloomberg Pursuits, May 27, 2014

The year is 2024, and Friedman lives on a so-called seastead, a waterbound city of some 1,000 people who produce their own food, their own energy and—most important—their own laws.

[Interestingly, Bloomberg changed the article’s title for their on-line re-publication, and doubled the number of times the word “libertarian” is used.]

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The First “Seastead” with Substantial Autonomy by 2020?

PanAm Post, May 6, 2014

Latest Research Affirms Market, Practical Design, Feasible Host Nations:

A market for residential seasteads exists, so says the Seasteading Institute in their newly published “Floating City Project” report (PDF). The 134-page publication — prepared between March 2013 and March 2014 and released on April 25 — is an initiative that seeks to establish the world’s first seastead within territorial waters of a host nation.

The authors, led by Randolph Hencken, set out to establish “the feasibility of developing a floating city before the end of the decade.” In addition to the presence of considerable market demand, they conclude that (1) a practical design can be built to match the market’s price point and (2) it is likely that the Seasteading Institute can reach a deal with a host nation.

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Adam Carolla Becomes a Seasteader Live During Interview with Joe Quirk

The Adam Carolla Show, April 30, 2014

“Joe, I like you, because we’re simpatico on this whole part about competition…I don’t know why we think people, the government, or anyone is going to do the right thing without the incentive and the competition…This whole seasteading thing, man, that just takes it to a whole new strata. That is just absolutely amazing. I love that—I love that—I just love that idea. The book is going to be published in about a year.”

The Adam Carolla Show won the Guinness book of World Records most downloaded podcast. Comedian, entrepreneur, and author Adam Carolla converted to seasteading live on his show. Adam got so excited about competitive governance on the oceans during his interview with me he skipped the news section.

How to Fail to Turn Adam Carolla into a Seasteader.

44:00: Polite discussion about algae and blue technologies.

How to Turn Adam Carolla into a Seasteader.

1:00:52: I accuse Adam Carolla of plagiarizing Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the RMS Titanic.

1:02:10: Adam Carolla brings up Waterworld, a sore point for seasteaders.

1:02:33: I call Adam and Bryan “old fucks.”

1:02:25: Adam realizes seasteading will be like the TV show The Love Boat, which is not a sore point for seasteaders.

1:02:51: Quirkstradamus predicts the ocean future.

1:03:30: Adam Carolla’s conversion moment.

1:03:59: Adam Carolla rants about competitive governance in the film industry using the metaphor of floating feces.

1:06:00: Adam Carolla makes sexy sound as seasteading slides into his soul.

1:06:56: Adam Carolla, author of President Me, promises a dinghy in every garage and a squid in every pot.

And the best part? If President Carolla fails in his duties as President of Carollastead, we can always leave.

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Floating Farms

Modern Farmer, March 19, 2014

Besides Blue Revolution Hawaii, a venture called the Seasteading Institute is the most serious U.S. player in the ocean colonization movement. “[Seasteading] will catch on as people discover you can farm the ocean just like you can farm the land,” says Charlie Deist, research coordinator for the Seasteading Institute. “You can have a relatively pure version of homesteading.”

Based in the Bay Area, the group is suffused with the big talk and zeal of a startup, as well as some of the funding — PayPal founder Peter Thiel has given them well over $2 million. Their dreams are grandiose and ideologically driven; John Locke and the right to individual liberty feature large. The institute believes the first ocean settlements will exist by 2020, and has partnered with an upscale Dutch design firm to facilitate that vision.

Blue Revolution Hawaii is more motivated by science than politics, and the group has yet to attract a wealthy patron. But what it lacks in capital, it makes up in know-how. Blue Revolution’s brain trust includes experts in oceanic energy, mariculture (aquaculture as practiced in the ocean) and more traditional, land-based farming. This loosely aligned cluster of men believes that the building blocks already exist for a necessary transition to the ocean.

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Worried About Earth? Hit the High Seas

Tyee, March 1, 2014

About six years ago, a group based in California’s Bay Area, led by the grandson of U.S. economist Milton Friedman, began designing and raising money for a floating ocean city-state, whose citizens could harness the sea to solve hunger, cure sickness and fix climate change. “There’s a rich history of people imagining a better society… on the ocean,” the Seasteading Institute’s Joe Quirk told me recently in San Francisco. “The difference now is that the technology to do this is at hand.”

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Radio: Silicon Galley?

NPR’s Marketplace, February 11, 2014

Does Silicon Valley exhibit the qualities of an island? An outpost with its own rules? Or, insular and cut off from society? The popular radio show Marketplace recently covered this theme in a six minute segment connecting the vision of seasteading with recent developments in the Bay Area technology hub. The segment covers both Blueseed’s concept for an visa-free technology startup incubator, as well as the broader idea of seasteading as explained by the Institute’s executive director, Randolph Hencken. Far from seeking to insulate themselves, Randy notes, inhabitants of floating cities will be the kinds of people who want to do good things for humanity.

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Seasteading Misconceptions

Business Insider, November 16, 2013

1. Peter Thiel isn’t trying to create his own private country. Thiel is outspoken on his Libertarian views and he’s a major supporter of seasteading, but it’s because it allows for new kinds of freedom for anyone who wants it, not because he wants to rule over a private island.

2. Seasteading is not about creating tax havens. It’s about experimenting with new ways to live. Sure, taxes would probably work much differently, but by no means is this the focus.

3. A seastead would not be some sort of lawless Wild West town on water. Hencken offered the example criticism of building codes – they’re fairly niche rules that all would agree matter for safety’s sake. While a seastead might not have explicit building codes written on paper somewhere, no one would be allowed to build something deemed unsafe.

Seasteading disrupts politics the same way that tech startups disrupt larger companies that aren’t nimble enough to stay innovative. It’s clear to see why Patri Friedman, co-founder of the The Seasteading institute, calls the idea “an apolitical solution to politics.”

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The Next Generation Of Pilgrims Want To Start Own Countries At Sea

Business Insider, November 9, 2013

Your hip, politically savvy friends probably say something like this with every election: “If [so-and-so] wins, I’m leaving the country.”

That might soon become so possible that they’ll have to follow through with it.

Seasteading is a Libertarian’s dream realized. It involves setting up floating cities at sea, 200 miles off the coast of a country so as to not be subject to its laws. Call it an experiment in governance, call it a way to live under a new set of rules of your own creation, maybe even a way to start your life over. You may one day be setting up your own sovereign nation.

Patri Friedman (grandson of the famed Milton Friedman) is one of the main proponents of seasteading, and he set up The Seasteading Foundation to educate people and generate interest. And there’s loads of interest. Even billionaire investor Peter Thiel, known for his outspoken Libertarian leanings, is pushing for this to become a practical reality.

There are some challenges, of course, but we already do a simpler version of this all the time. In an interview on Glenn Beck’s Blaze Network, Randolph Hencken, executive director of The Seasteading Institute, explained that cruise ships already ferry about 10 million people a year – roughly the population of Sweden – and are already practically floating cities. Cruise ships have a certain political flexibility with their dock in one country and be owned by a corporation in another.

Patri Friedman sees this as a way for people people to get to live under the system they want and to create data about whether that system actually works.

He offers the following analogy:

“Why are people using governmental systems from 1787? A car from 1787 would be a horse!”

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Ocean living: A step closer to reality?, November 1, 2013

The Seasteading Institute has also been dealing with the challenges faced by communities trying to live permanently on the ocean. It is an audacious but essentially pragmatic endeavour. Taking a cue from the Tanka people, the plan is locate in the protected, territorial waters of a nation willing to “host” the structures and their inhabitants. With help from the Dutch aquatic architecture firm DeltaSync, the institute hopes to design something that will meet the needs of residents, and the host nation. From a calm coastal area, the logistical challenges needed allow a community to live on the high seas can be solved one at a time.

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Blue Revolution – Seasteading

Sensa Nostra, October 31, 2013

Randolph Hencken, 37, is the Executive Director of The Seasteading Institute, a San Francisco Bay Area-based non-profit think tank that seeks to create so-called ‘experimental zones’ on the ocean. These autonomous, floating city-states, or ‘seasteads’, would be places where new political, environmental, scientific, legal, and social policies could be incubated, free from the restrictions and interference of existing governments. He shares his personal inspiration, as well as the organization’s goals and vision for the the future of what he calls the ‘Blue Revolution’.

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h+ Magazine Interviews Randolph Hencken

h+ Magazine, September 12, 2013

Humanity+, one of the leading futurist/transhumanist advocacy organizations, recently featured an interview with Randy Hencken in its online h+ publication. Jesse Barksdale, the interviewer, asked a number of questions to introduce h+’s audience to our mission, and our latest strategy for making floating cities a reality. Barksdale draws a good analogy between the entry-and-exit model of seasteading citizenship (aka “voting with your boat”) and recurring membership fees. Hencken responded with the observation that the option to withdraw one’s residence, along with the associated tax payments, directly impacts a business or government’s bottom line, whereas traditional democratic citizenship often leaves minorities completely powerless to sway policies.

The interview also contains tidbits on the early findings of our Floating City Project survey, and the most “far out” seasteading business models we’ve come across in our five years of research and movement building.

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Interview: Randolph Hencken, Executive Director of The Seasteading Institute, August 13, 2013

In the wake of a depressed economy and septic political system many Americans are looking for alternatives – both for some solace in the stormy present, as well as for a vision of the future. An organization proposing one of the more radical alternatives is the Seasteading Institute. The Institute is not proposing reform nor revolution but, in essence, separation.

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Why Doesn’t Government Get Better?

Huffington Post, May 28, 2013

This piece was written by 18-year-old seasteading ambassador Josiah Tullis, for the Huffington Post’s Politics Blog.

Government is a science. Political science is, according to Aristotle, the study of the state. But if governance is a science why don’t we see more experimenting with the state? Why aren’t we trying new things in government? Certainly, there’s a great handful of think-tanks and professors conducting research into public policy, but how about some good old fashioned scientific experimentation? Why don’t we model our theories of society and test out their reality in controlled environments? Why don’t we experiment with civilization and political systems? What I want to know is why, in an age of increasingly rapid progress, we haven’t created a system that allows us to actually innovate government?

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Why do ‘Seasteaders’ Love Bitcoin?

CoinDesk, May 24, 2013

Bitcoin represents more than a digital currency. For many adopters, it is a means of breaking free of government and financial institutions’ control over money.

The Seasteading Institute shares those ideals. Just as libertarians in the Bitcoin community see the currency as a way to get free of fiat and avoid the financial transaction roadblocks erected at national boundaries or through credit regulations, seasteaders put their hope into the idea of new, independent cities as a way to escape the stranglehold of government systems.

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Don’t Like The Government? Make Your Own, On International Waters

NPR’s All Things Considered, December 17, 2012

[MP3 Download]

NPR’s All Things Considered is the latest prominent news show to take an interest in seasteading. Earlier today, the program aired a six-minute segment titled, “Don’t like the government? Make your own, on international waters“; we are grateful to the segment’s producer, Laura Sydell, for her more than year-long effort to put the story together. Overall, Sydell did a good job presenting our mission to NPR’s listeners. At the same time, we wish to address a few points where the story fell short.

Our biggest grievance was the segment’s failure to recognize seasteading as a movement to enable multiple competing visions of governance. Professor Holly Folk, the expert featured to provide a counter-argument to seasteading, demonstrated her incomplete understanding of our strategy by focusing on potential problems with starting a new libertarian intentional community. She alleges a desire by seasteaders to “game the global system,” and claims libertarians have “a worldview that’s going to be attractive to people who are in some ways probably not hard-wired to behave and take orders very well.” The segment contains no evidence for the first allegation. Folk’s second claim might have some validity, but only if we were advocating a single community based on a contrarian philosophy.

Another disappointment was the labeling of our supporters as “rich techies,” a framing which hardly does justice to the diverse composition of our movement. The defining feature of our local meetup attendees has always been passion for alternatives to the governing status quo, and dedication to enabling a broad range of new communities experimenting with innovative solutions. Being so close to Silicon Valley, many of our local supporters are naturally interested in harnessing recent technological progress to advance humanity in other realms, such as the rules for organizing into peaceful and prosperous societies.

Additionally, the references to profits as the motivation behind our efforts are overdone. Yes, the Institute explores ideas for making seasteads economically sustainable, but profits merely exist to signal which seasteads are meeting the demands of citizens and customers, and to encourage innovation. Seastead communities will not be “built around profits” any more than existing communities on land, which of course depend on the existence of economic opportunity to support their citizens.

As diverse as our support is, it continues to frustrate us when the media pigeonholes the concept of seasteading as exclusively libertarian. Fortunately, history will not remember us for a particular ideology, but instead for our pioneering of a movement to improve all of humanity’s relationship to its governments, and to the planet. We are hopeful our true vision will still reach many of NPR’s listeners, and we appreciate the opportunity to be showcased to their audience.

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Moon? Mars? No, it’s seaward ho!

New Scientist, September 28, 2012

The vastness of Earth’s oceans and the limited extent of our knowledge and occupation of them often invites comparisons with space. But they are much more attainable than the moon or Mars. Hence the enduring fascination with “seasteading“, the idea of building permanent settlements at sea (see “Brave new sea worlds to redefine society“).

Those who push the idea are often dismissed as libertarian fantasists. The seasteading movement has its fair share of those, but it is also home to pioneers longing to conquer a new frontier.

We already have The World, a private residential yacht with permanent wealthy occupants cruising the globe. That hardly fulfils the vision of wagons rolling west. But it may be the start of something bigger. Shifting climate was what drove our African ancestors to colonise the world (see “Climate change determined humanity’s global conquest“). As climate and population pressures ramp up, perhaps the lure of the wide blue yonder will prove irresistible.

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Start-up Nations on the High Seas

Discover Magazine, September 2012

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Center for International Maritime Security interviews The Seasteading Institute

CIMSEC, August 27, 2012

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Getting Around Big Government: The Seastead Revolution Begins to Take Shape

Forbes, July 30, 2012

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Peter Thiel Convenes His League of Extraordinary Wackaloons

Forbes, December 15, 2011

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Seasteading: Cities on the Ocean

The Economist Technology Quarterly, December, 3, 2011

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Names You Need To Know In 2011: Patri Friedman, November 2010; Forbes Magazine January 2011. Circulation 900,000.

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20,000 Nation Above the Sea. Is floating the last, best hope for liberty?

Reason Magazine, July 2009. Circulation 60,000.

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Live Free or Drown

Wired Magazine Article, January 19, 2009, Circulation 790,000.

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