Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Libertarian" Islands?

Now yesterday I was talking up the link between risk-taking and innovation.  But when use an ideological rather than technical motivation you stop pushing the envelope and instead claim the envelope doesn't exist because it conflicts with your ideology. Which leads to the Whack-a-loon idea of the day: Pay Pal founder Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to the Seasteading Institute to create floating libertarian countries in international waters. Is Somalia full or something?

I hate to tell them, but international waters are not lawless regions. If they were to be anchored, they would likely be on the continental shelf and in some nations EEZ.  If free-floating they would be essentially vessels and subject to search from any nation, particularly if they become centers of smuggling.  They would actually only be sovereign if other nations recognized their sovereignty.  The whole scheme sounds like a juvenile Randian inspired fantasy by some people lucky to be in the right place and time to make gobs of money. Never will happen anyway, and it will take more than $1.25 million investments. These people would have to pour their whole fortune into it.

Finally there is the sea itself, which do not treat arrogant people favorably. Methinks none of these folks lived on the New England coast in the winter, let alone sailed through the NW Atlantic in the same season. They wouldn't be so sure about their engineering plans then.

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