The issue of living at sea in a private community is an intriguing idea. The concept has recently evolved with the launching of high end, high seas floating condominiums. These high seas residences have become very popular among those who can afford the cost of the purchase as well as the homeowner's fees associated with running and maintaining the ship.
There is another group of people who seek evolution into living on the sea 365 days a year, though they are not floating and they are going nowhere. Members of this group called themselves Seasteaders and they call their lifestyle, Seasteading. They are also organized, to some degree, under the umbrella of The Seasteading Institute.
The Seasteading Institute was founded in 2008 with the mission to "Further the establishment and growth of permanent, autonomous ocean communities, enabling innovation with new political and social systems."
The group's listed goals seem lofty. As of May 10, 2009, their dream is in "50 years to have at least 5,000,000 full-time seasteaders worldwide. Some seasteads are generally recognized as sovereign states by other world powers."
Their plan to arrive at those goals includes supporters such as Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and early investor in Internet companies such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and futurist organizations such as the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Methuselah Foundation. Thiel donated $500,000 to the organization.
While the group says the early days of the movement consist of those living on residential cruise ships like The World and those living in privately owned single-family residences aboard small vessels, they have a vision of a metropolitan city complete with housing, jobs and no vehicles.
It would seem the group plans to grow their own food to some extent and to operate businesses based on the internet in a city that is a more esthetic version of an oil platform, located in international waters. They aspire to create their own government and currency, and renounce their birthright citizenship in order to avoid the laws and taxes of their original homelands.
There is actually a seastead community in the Baltic Sea. The group is really more like a floating tent city, located 22 km off shore, surrounded by nine countries, a 30 mile boat voyage back to shore for employment and supplies. The Baltic Seasteaders claim their community is located, where "the sovereignty of the state starts fading out."
The current community consists of a collection of small vessels, located in area where international seas put the vessels out of the jurisdiction of any one country, the waves are smaller than many regions of the open sea and the threat from piracy is relatively low.
The group also has two guides, the most recent version is quite comprehensive, Seasteading: A Practical Guide to Homesteading the High Seas. The guide is complete with artist renderings of their idea of utopia, complete with windmill power and greenhouses.
The guide highlights some successful floating communities, that fall within the governmental jurisdiction of some nations, such as Sausalito’s Richardson Bay FloatingHomes, Seattle, Washington and floating homes in The Netherlands.
I find myself remembering images of the 1995 Kevin Costner movie, Waterworld. If you have seen it, at the end of the world as it was always known, survivors of world Holocaust create floating cities that have no formal governments. The pirates in the movie are called Smokers, who rob and pillage all the other floating communes and dwellers on the high seas.
Seasteading has really come from the same roots as piracy. Both seek to form their own communities, under their own laws, reject the government they evolved from and both seek to prosper without paying taxes and supporting the huddled masses with their own good fortune, ill-gotten or otherwise.
It is a fun idea though, that man can live with freedom and power without corruption. It has never been done before and adding water to substitute a landscape with a seascape will likely not be enough to cleanse human ills that turn noble ideas into man's worst enemy.
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