Kia (ddstory) wrote in talk_politics,

A libertarian seasteading project

Most of you have probably heard about this already. Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and one of the first investors in Facebook, has invested one and a quarter million dollars in the Seasteading Institute company, which funds a project by one Patri Friedman, a former engineer at Google. The project is to build the perfect libertarian utopia on artificial islands off the coast of California.

The islands are expected to be constructed on floating platforms powered by diesel engines. The weight of each platform should be 12 thousand tons and one of those things should host up to 270 people. The islands will float some 370 km away from San Francisco, which means in international waters. The project includes building a whole archipelago of these islands and eventually hosting millions of people by 2050.

The first floating office will be built sometime during this year, and in 2019 the first towns will appear in the Pacific, ready to be populated.

The purpose of all this is ideological. Peter Thiel is planning to create a sovereign country on those islands, which would eventually be recognized by the UN. The new country will consist of poleis, whose citizens will experiment with various ideas of government. The stated principles of this new society include nice things like the freedom of thought, of expression and action, freedom from moral and other dogma and norms, and from the now existing laws. The creators of the project are aiming to build a new type of society which they believe hasn't been tried before.

It's worth noting that the creators of this utopia don't reject money and capitalist relations, in fact they embrace them. Their statement, although still a bit vague, goes along the lines of "we'll avoid doing the same mistakes that our predecessors did". As for water, energy and food supply and other resources, the new state would get them exclusively through trade with other countries.

I think this is a consequence from the notion that true libertarianism hasn't been tried in the real world yet, at least not in its purest form as imagined by the hardcore libertarians. I invite our libertarian friends here to correct me on this if I'm getting it wrong. That said, I think this project can't be a bad idea, and people who are willing to pursue their own understanding of a better society, and who have the means to realize their dream, should act upon it, and join such a society. I'm not sure how this would work differently than all previous attempts at building similar utopias, but I can't help wishing good luck to all who'll join the project. The more diversity of ideas and experiments, the merrier. What say you? And the critics of libertarianism, do they think this project poses a threat that people might actually see a successful libertarian example and start embracing libertarianism in larger numbers?

Many analysts keep saying that the 21st century will be a time of a major shift of paradigm in both the social and political sense, with new ideas and systems being introduced and eventually re-shaping the status quo on a global scale. Is a project like this, and other such ideas, the precursor to these changes? Or is it just a bold but naive attempt to social escapism that is unsustainable in the long run? Gimme your opinions, please.

And finally, a hypothetical question. If you see such a project actually working just fine, and being a success, and if it matches your personal understanding of a better society, would you venture to join it? If yes - why? If no - why not?
Tags: hypothesis, libertarianism, utopia
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