Wednesday, May 21, 2008
How I learned to stop worrying and love the libertarian artificial island utopia
Wired has been all over a theme that I thought was a little fantastical, but I'm now reconsidering: seasteading! The idea is that using the traditionally stateless open sea as a launching point for a new political system would be easier than co-opting an existing country or system. The brainchild of the project is Patri Friedman (son of anarcho-capitalist David Friedman, and grandson of über-economist Milton Friedman), and the funder is libertarian venture capitalist Peter Thiel. The Wired article delves into the economics of the idea, citing some figures of costs for oil rigs as an analog to the costs of establishing what's essentially an artificial island. Thiel's funding isn't massive (just a half million), but the project and the newly-established Seasteading Institute have received a lot of publicity. I'm still not totally sold on the idea, but the discussion is certainly a good thing for libertarianism.