Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Seasteaders, French Polynesia sign agreement

A Floating Libertarian City Is a Step Closer to Reality - David Roos, Seeker:

January 20, 2017 -  "When Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, helped launch the Seasteading Institute in 2008, it sounded like a libertarian pipe dream — floating cities free from government meddling (no regulation, no taxes) that would be testing grounds for technological, social and political innovation.

"But this past January 13, the dream came one step closer to reality when the Seastead Institute signed a deal with French Polynesia that lays the legal groundwork for the world's first semi-autonomous floating city-state.

"French Polynesia is a cluster of more than 100 islands in the South Pacific, the biggest and best-known being Tahiti.... French Polynesia is courting investment in the so-called 'blue economy,' the sustainable development of offshore energy production, wild-catch fisheries, aquaculture and tourism....

"Joe Quirk is the Seasteading Institute's staff 'Seavangelist' and author of the forthcoming Seasteading: How Ocean Cities Will Change the World, written with Seasteading Institute co-founder Patri Friedman. Quirk was part of a 10-person team who visited French Polynesia back in September.

"'This was a Polynesian-initiated project,' Quirk told Seeker. "They reached out to us. It's an ideal country for seasteading, and they think we're the perfect industry for what they want to do with regard to the blue economy'....' [F]or this first, proof-of-concept project, the Seasteading Institute was searching for an island partner with protected shallow waters and an openness to new type of economic model called a SeaZone.

"Over the next year, the Seasteading Institute will be negotiating the legal terms of the SeaZone with the government of French Polynesia, which may include not only economic incentives, but a certain measure of political autonomy.

"The deal signed last week was just a memorandum of understanding between the Polynesian government and the Seasteading Institute. Before construction can begin on the pentagonal concrete platforms that would support the floating city, the Seasteading Institute and its Dutch engineering partner Blue21 must conduct economic and environmental impact studies....

"If all goes smoothly with the Polynesian negotiations, Quirk said that construction could start as early as 2018 and the first units could be sold starting in 2019."

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