Float On


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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12 Responses

  1. Kyle says:

    Couldn’t they also just claim a territory like American Samoa or Guam, that’s how it was done in the 1800’s? All the fun of being in the middle of nowhere, land to cultivate, and no nautical expertise required.Report

    • greginak in reply to Kyle says:

      There is plenty of land in the middle of Alaska for settlers. there is little or no gov intervention, they would get money from the state each year and have no state taxs. I wonder why they havn’t moved into the scenic Arctic for their utopia????Report

  2. greginak says:

    Seasteading seems to me to be in the long tradition of American utopian communities. They may work for small committed groups, but I’m not sure how much they have to say about large heterogeneous populations. Part of the genius/struggle/frustration of democracy is how to have a bunch of people get along. Maybe they could call one of the seasteads the SS Amana.Report

  3. Jaybird says:


    What could possibly go wrong?Report

  4. Will Wilson says:

    Dude, if you want to come next year, you’re more than welcome to sign on to my yet-to-be-named platform — provided that you’re willing to pull your weight in construction and provisioning, of course.

    There’ll likely be 10-11 people of a fairly philosophical cast of mind, with representatives from many points on the political spectrum. Should be fun. Signing onto our crew will also almost certainly be cheaper than renting a houseboat or somesuch.

    Let me know,

  5. Francis says:

    I wonder how many attendees were engineers.

    Ah, libertarianism. A philosophy so self-centered that it could only thrive in a post-industrial country.

    So let’s talk about sea-steading for a second. As Captain Bligh, among many others, discovered, the first thing you need in the open ocean is fresh water. People and plants consume a startling amount of water every day, so you need either to generate it, dock on the mainland regularly to refill, or have people bring it to you. The second and third options are, obviously, inconsistent with the philosophy of seasteading, which requires independence from terrestrial governments. But generating potable water from seawater requires both substantial amounts of energy and complicated technologies and manufacturing facilities for the membranes.

    Then you need food. While fish pens and artificial reefs can probably generate the needed protein, you still need vitamins. So for every body, you need a certain amount of greenhouse space.

    Shelter is the easiest bit. The British Navy for years allocated only 14 inches of hammock space per foredeck hand. Of course, getting people to volunteer to such cramped quarters may be a little challenging.

    Then defense. No nation would allow anyone to build a platform in coastal waters and declare independence. The Coast Guard would be ordered to establish the rule of law. Even small islands don’t work; when stories of persistent child abuse at Pitcairn Island (speaking of Capt Bligh) surfaced, the New Zealand government essentially invaded. So defense is established by evasion, ie being a floating city.

    Now we’re turning into Waterworld. That’s a place with no soil to grow things, no minerals to be mined and no fresh water. You’re planning on coupling this with enormously complex and, yet, robust agricultural and manufacturing facilities.

    Seriously, best of luck.

    p.s. Wouldn’t establishing an enclave or series of enclaves in a currently lawless environment, like Somalia, be easier? You have to defend a fixed position, but on the other hand you can grow food and capture rainfall.Report