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NETWORK: Homesteading the high seas

Brave New Seaworld

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Call it the ultimate startup: a group of minicivilizations floating on the ocean, where modern-day pioneers are free to launch new business ideas and experiment with new institutions of government.

The Oakland, California–based Seasteading Institute is working to create Utopian “seasteads.” Founded in 2008 by activist and software engineer Patri Friedman (grandson of Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman) and technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel, the organization explores the technological, engineering, and diplomatic challenges involved in building self-sufficient new republics at sea.

While the potential designs of these floating cities look like the sets of a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, Friedman believes that seasteading offers a viable alternative to ongoing global concerns, such as political turmoil, poverty, and hunger. “I see seasteading as a technological solution to the problems of politics,” he says. Out on the high seas, away from governmental taxation, immigration, and regulatory policies, seasteading communities would provide havens where scientists could research innovative medical treatments and marine biologists could explore alternative ways to feed the world’s population.

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Bobbie Hartman

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