Listen to Joe Quirk’s great interview on Seasteading.
Is this the future of mankind? Is Seasteading the answer to all of humanity’s most pressing challenges?
As we battle to hold duopoly governments to account, reverse the damage of climate change, reduce inequality, and provide health care to the disadvantaged – perhaps it’s time to accept that our old system is broken beyond repair.
Rather than try to fix the irredeemable, it might be time to try something new.
Seasteaders are convinced that their vision will provide the innovative platform to launch the civilisations of the future – and my guest in this episode makes a pretty good case.
Joe Quirk is an author and Seavangelist at The Seasteading Institute. His enthusiasm will infect you and leave you with fresh hope for the future of humanity.
Seasteading promises to restore the environment, enrich the poor, cure the sick and liberate humanity from politicians.
Here’s what I took from the episode:
Seasteading solves two of the world’s biggest problems at once:
Sea level change
The lack of innovation in governance
Seasteading = Politically independent cities that float on the ocean
Start up countries on the blue frontier
Half the world’s surface is unclaimed by any country
Seasteading brings a Silicon valley sensibility to the problem of Governments not innovating
The Seasteading Institute has already found that if they provide the opportunity for innovators to contribute to a nano-nation, innovators will come along with their own brilliant niche ideas
Innovators are held back by 20th century regulations
The Seated Institute takes no position on what type of society should be formed – they are providing the technology for others to decide
The vision is that people will join and leave seated communities voluntarily – Seasteads compete to attract = best societies emerge
French Polynesia sees itself as the blue frontier:
’We’re going to draw a new world map with FP as the centre of the aquatic age’.
Before 2020 there’ll be the first seastead civilisation established on French Polynesia.
The seasteading phenomena will start as the coastal expansion of exisiting states.
Joe thinks that our children will be living on floating cities. They will look back at our way of life, the way we lived under the rule of a monopoly government, and shake their heads.
Build it and they will come
The Seastead Institute has found that putting this idea out there, talking and getting excited about this new model of civilisation, innovators have come to them. They have been inundated with a range of thinkers and problem solvers – all wanting to be part of the movement.
‘I’ve been astounded by the solutions that people bring to this movement’
‘So many of the problems that we get frustrated about on land are based on the problem of monopoly of governance that doesn’t allow the network effects of solutions that can work together’
I gave a presentation on the Prague Conference on Political Economy recently. The thesis of my talk was that one core focus of political philosophy is to deal with the realities of value pluralism and political disagreements. I contended that the most common form of social organization, representative democracy, does not satisfactorily deal with these realities. Therefore, we should look for political possibilities beyond representative democracies and that in order to discover these possibilities, we should experiment with new forms of social organizations. By approaching the issue from a Nozickean meta-system level perspective and realizing that governments are resistant to structural societal changes we should then introduce competition into the industry of governments. Seasteading, the creation of habitable dwellings on the oceans, could serve as a means for entrepreneurs to introduce more competition into the industry and lessen political tensions between citizens who hold different comprehensive doctrines. It may sound like a crazy idea, but I truly believe that the profit potential that seasteads will offer are enormous and that the creation of micronations and startup cities – either on land or on the oceans – will become more common within the next 25 years.
You can find my entire powerpoint presentation below.
I have recently returned home from 4 days of Prague, Czech Republic, where I attended two conferences: Austrian Economics Meeting Europe and the Prague Conference on Political Economy. After having been secluded from Austrian economists and Libertarians for almost 2 years, it felt like a homecoming to be surrounded again by people who share similar thoughts. This was after all the only place in the last two years where I was able to fully express my (´controversial´) ideas about society. Being surrounded by tremendously smart people – you have to be rather smart and geeky to give up part of your free time or professional work in order to visit conferences and discuss philosophy, politics and economics – within the beautiful city of Prague made it a wonderful experience.
The AEME came about after the summer of 2014 when those from Europe who visited Mises University that year decided to come together again to discuss classical liberal ideas in the spirit of Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek and Murray Rothbard. The first AEME event took place in 2015 in Vienna, Austria, the city where the Austrian School of economic thought emerged from the works of Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser, and others. The Austrian School is famous for its methodological struggle against the Prussian Historical School and their idea that economics is culture- and time-specific and therefore does not contain universal validity. The Austrian School is also famous for such theoretical contributions as the subjective theory of value (as opposed to Marx’ labour theory of value), theory of marginal utility, opportunity cost doctrine, Austrian business cycle theory, the time structure of production and consumption, methodological individualism and the economic calculation problem that was first formulated by Ludwig von Mises in 1920 and later expanded upon by Friedrich von Hayek to show that pricing systems in socialist economies were necessarily deficient. From a socio-political perspective, the School argues for limited government and some even for libertarian anarchism.
What was great about the second AEME is that it took place right before the PCPE conference at the CEVRO Institute. Most of us who attended AEME have stayed two extra days to attend the PCPE conference as well. The CEVRO Institute is a private university founded in 2005 that is located in the very centre of the city of Prague. The university prides itself in its emphasis on freedom, markets, and its innovative character that is for example manifested in its PPE (Philosophy, Politics, Economics) programme taught by such international illustrious professors as Michael Munger who is also director of Duke University’s PPE programme, Peter Boettke who is the director of the F.A. Hayek Program at George Mason University, David Schmidt who is director of the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona, Boudewijn Bouckaert who was the former dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghent, and Josef Sima who is the president of the CEVRO Institute. The institute has invited several prominent speakers for its conference. Prof. Mark Pennington (London School of Economics) was for example invited to present “Why most things should probably be for sale”. Prof. Benjamin Powell who is the director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University was there as well to speak about “Migration, Economic Calculation, and the European Situation.” Prof. Mario Rizzo (New York University) had the honour to be the keynote speaker and spoke about “The four pillars of new paternalism” which was followed by commentaries from Prof. Pascal Salin, former president of the Mont Pelerin Society.
The second day of the PCPE conference, there were 27 speakers spread over 9 sessions on such topics as economic theory, anarcho-capitalism, the Austrian School, entrepreneurship, cryptocurrencies, the role of family and more. I was one of the speakers and spoke on the “Philosophical investigation of seasteading as the means to discover better forms of social organization”. The thesis of my talk was that one core focus of political philosophy is to deal with the realities of value pluralism and political disagreements. I contended that the most common form of social organization, representative democracy, does not satisfactorily deal with these realities. Therefore, we should look for political possibilities beyond representative democracies and that in order to discover these possibilities, we should experiment with new forms of social organizations. By approaching the issue from a meta-system level perspective and realizing that governments are resistant to structural societal changes we should then introduce competition into the industry of governments. Seasteading, the creation of habitable dwellings on the oceans, could serve as a means to introduce more competition in the industry and lessen political tensions between citizens who hold different comprehensive doctrines.
If I could mention one thing that has made the most remarkable impression on me, it would be the warning issued by Prof. Stephen Baskerville (Patrick Henry College, USA) that the most immediate threat to our liberties is feminism and the social justice movement. He maintained in his talk that there is an ensuing crisis of the family which is perpetuated by the state. According to Prof. Baskerville, family courts can enter homes uninvited, take away people’s children, confiscate their property, and incarcerate them without trial, charge or counsel. With over 50% of all first marriages ending in divorce and more than half of all these divorces involving children, the greatest threat to our liberties is the colluding social work state bureaucracies with radical feminism. These groups have colluded to suppress information on such injustices. Listening to Baskerville’s talk, I felt the great urgency to engage in an intellectual battle against feminism and the social justice movement.
Other than the many intellectually invigorating moments, the city itself provided many magnificent sites. To mention several sights: we visited a beer garden, experienced a classical music concert at the Mirror Chapel, walked over the Charles Bridge, and visited the Prague Castle.
All in all, the city of Prague, AEME and PCPE were an unforgettable experience! It has already been decided that next year’s AEME conference will take place in Krakow, Poland. The conference will be open for anyone who is interested in Austrian economics and libertarianism. For more information on AEME and the papers that were presented in the previous editions, you can find our website here. In case you are interested in studying at the CEVRO Institute and its MA PPE programme with specializations in “Austrian Economics”, “Studies of Transition”, and “International Politics”, you can visit their website here.