The radical plan aims to create the first nation that will float in international waters and “free humanity from politicians.”
Not such a bad idea, right? It would be like Atlantis in modern times.
Far from being science fiction, in recent years, the so-called “colonization of the sea” or seasteading has ceased to be a fantasy to become something close to reality; There are currently companies, academics and even governments that are working together to create a prototype of a working floating city-state by the year 2020.
At the center of the initiative is the Seasteading Institute, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco.
After its founding in 2008, with initial financial backing from Peter Thiel (the libertarian billionaire behind Paypal), the group has spent nearly a decade trying to convince the public that the colonization of the sea is not total madness.
Earlier this year, the government of French Polynesia agreed to allow the Seasteading Institute to test out their project in their national waters.
The construction could begin soon and the first floating buildings, the nucleus of a city, could be habitable in just a few years.
“If you could have a floating city, it could essentially be treated as a start-up country,” said Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute. “We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people.”
The colonization of the sea is more than a fantasy pastime for Quirk and other people dedicated to the project.
According to them, it is an opportunity to rewrite the rules that define society.
Governments do not improve,” Quirk explained.
“They are stuck in past centuries. This is because the land encourages violent monopoly to control it.”
The idea dictates that without land conflicts would not exist.
Even if the Seasteading Institute could establish some sustainable structures, there is no guarantee that a utopian community will flourish.
People often fight for many more things than lands, of course, and pirates have emerged as a threat in several regions.
Also, although maritime law suggests that the colonization of the sea could have solid legal foundations, it is impossible to predict the response of real governments to new neighbors that may be floating along their coasts.
Despite this fact, Quirk and his team are focused on the project of a floating island near Tahiti.
The government of that region is creating a special economic zone for the Seasteading Institute to experiment and offer 40 hectares of land in front of the sea so that the group can work.
Quirk and his collaborators have even created a new company, Blue Frontiers, which will build and operate the floating islands in French Polynesia.
The goal is to create dozens of structures by 2020, including homes, hotels, offices, and restaurants, with a cost close to 60 million dollars.
To finance the construction, the team is working on an initial offer financed with digital money.
If everything unfolds as planned, the structures will have surfaces covered with vegetation, using local wood, bamboo fiber, and coconut, as well as recyclable metal and plastic.
“I want to see floating cities by the year 2050, thousands of them hopefully, and each of them offering different ways of governance,” Mr. Quirk said.
“The more people move among them, the more choices we’ll have and the more likely it is we can have peace prosperity and innovation,” concluded Quirk.