Thursday, January 22, 2009

Floating Utopia 2.0

Live free or drown. That's the principle behind the Seasteading Institute, or "floating utopia on the cheap," as Chris Baker writes in Wired. Seasteading was created "to figure out how to make aquatic homesteads a reality" by Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer convinced that we have run out of government controlled frontier on land, and that the seas which cover 70% of the earth's surface offer "a virgin realm."

"Friedman and his followers are not the first band of wide-eyed dreamers to want to build floating utopias," Baker adds -- referring to failed attempts at "fleeing the oppressive strictures of modern government and creating a laissez-faire society on the high seas."

The Seasteading Institute's concept is different, though. "Friedman doesn't just want to create huge floating platforms that people can live on. He's also hoping to create a platform in the sense that Linux is a platform: a base upon which people can build their own innovative forms of governance [...] The people here want to start a non metaphorical revolution by creating their own independent nations. In the middle of the ocean. On prefab floating platforms."

"The ultimate goal is to create standards and blueprints that can be easily adapted, allowing small communities to rapidly incubate and test new models of self-rule with the same ease that a programmer in his garage can whip up a Facebook." The whole concept, astro-turfer as it may seem, is worth the read. Fancy larguer les amarres?
Update 02/04/09: more floating eco-habitats
illustration via