The Seasteading Institute puts a wild concept into practice to teach us more about the way the world and society around us works.
When we last heard of renegades taking to the seas to set up their own nation states, it had a different pallour to the Seasteading Institute. Nevertheless, the principle of Seasteading is the same: people establish micronations offshore as a means of escaping the increasing encroachments of governance into how they lead their lives.
Though not the founder of the Institute, Peter Thiel numbers among one of their more voiciferous and influential advocates. He sees the founding of micronations in international waters as a means of influencing the behaviour of the nation states that stay on land.
“The idea is that we need to create competition between governments. If it’s very hard to reform existing ones, we need to create new sovereign states—in the oceans or elsewhere.”
The Seasteading Institute aims to be proof of concept for a different way of doing things. By establishing this potential place, the Seasteading Initiative lays open the incredible complexities of how our world is governed by concord and legality. Even within the theoretically open frontier of the vast expanses of oceans there is a whole body of admirality law, intertwined by treaties between land bound nation state, and the complications of trading with other sovereign states.
In it’s most utopian incarnation the Seasteading Institute is intended to be self sufficient, and this would go a long way to negotiating the complex interdependencies touched on above. However, Brent Cox assesses that in it’s current beta version it doesn’t differ significantly from an offshore casino. Nevertheless, the scope for critique which Seasteading affords is itself illustrative of how useful such ‘high concept’ ‘proof of concepts’ can be in action.