Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Worried about rising sea levels? According to the Seasteading Institute and Blue Frontiers, the solution is a self governing libertarian network of floating cities loosely attached to French Polynesia.
A floating Pacific island is in the works with its own government, cryptocurrency and 300 houses
Published 5:01 AM ET Fri, 18 May 2018
Mezza-Garcia spoke with CNBC’s Matthew Taylor about what she sees as the trouble with governments, and why she believes tech startups should head to Tahiti.
The project is a pilot program in partnership with the government of French Polynesia, which will see 300 homes built on an island that runs under its own governance, using a cryptocurrency called Varyon.
“Once we can see how this first island works, we will have a proof of concept to plan for islands to house climate refugees,” she said.
“There is significance to this project being trialed in the Polynesian Islands. This is the region where land is resting on coral and will disappear with rising sea levels,” Mezza-Garcia said.
“If you don’t want to live under a particular government,” she said, “people will be able to just take their house and float away to another island.”
The idea of regime shopping, moving to different countries to avoid mis-governance, has sound historical precedent. The USA was settled by people who were fed up with the old world. My favourite history book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers suggests the fractured politics of Renaissance Europe, and the ease with which talented individuals could relocate, forced European governments to compete for business. The restraint the risk of losing tax paying merchants and craftsmen imposed on the tyrannies of the day led to the rise of the modern world.
But I can’t help thinking the seasteading utopians haven’t fully thought through all the issues.
Polynesia is subject to some truly horrendous storms. The last place you want to be when a cyclone or hurricane hits is floating on the water.
Cyclone hits French Polynesia
updated 2/4/2010 4:25:02 PM ET
PAPEETE, Tahiti — Cyclone Oli buffeted French Polynesia on Thursday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents and tourists to churches, schools and temples.
The archipelago that includes Tahiti was under red alert until the cyclone passes, and all roads were closed. Towering waves were buffeting buoys off the coast of Tahiti’s capital, Papeete. French television showed a naval ship pitching in the storm.
Around 3,500 people in Tahiti and Moorea who risked being swept away or inundated by lashing waves were evacuated, officials said, and about 50 homes were destroyed in Moorea.
If climate alarmists are right, those superstorms will get worse. Bad news for floating structures.
I suspect the seasteaders will go forward despite any unresolved issues. The urge to homestead, to get some elbow room, relocate away from people who you cannot stand, is as old as humanity.
Despite the odds, and their whacky ideas about climate change, I hope the Seasteaders succeed. The risk of high value entrepreneurs relocating to seastead communities might place increased pressure on traditional governments to lower taxes and cut red tape.
Update (EW): Added a video from the Seasteading Institute website. The image at the top of this post is not necessarily one of the constructions planned by the seasteading pioneers, it is a copyleft image of a seastead. Sorry for not making this clear.