Self-Established Political Asylum. Or, The Market For and By the Industrious
By way of (further) introduction, Seasteading is the establishment of autonomous, sea-based, political entities to innovate new political and social systems that serve humanity better than do existing governments. Again: Seasteads are fresh ‘ground’ to innovate new political and social systems that may better give effect to humanitarian ideals, and over time may result in genuinely new, supranational cultures and traditions premised upon peace, industry and mutual pursuit of happiness.
As every critic of Seasteading will tell you, however, the difficulties, risk, and cost of establishing even a single Seastead are enormous. It is also true that “all noble things are as difficult as they are rare.”–Baruch Spinoza. Therefore it is nevertheless instructive to consider, even if only conceptually, the socio-political possibilities and opportunities Seasteading presents—for the same reasons that discussions amongst European serfs as to the possibilities of creating monarch-less countries in new lands—if only such lands existed—were valuable long before discovery of the New World.
The emergence of communities relatively free from the political status quo offers possibilities far beyond the economic impetuses, whether they be sea-based ‘Blue’ technologies, or relief from usurious taxation and anti-competitive ‘markets’, that will initially launch Seasteads. Indeed, the prospect for Individuals to compete in the political marketplace for human and financial capital currently monopolized by land-based nation states is the most valuable economic and socio-political opportunity Seasteading offers. Seastead entrepreneurs should embrace this perspective as a primary basis of Seasteading’s viability and seek to develop political solutions that serve humanity better than existing governments. This perspective will best attract the interest, investment and human creativity necessary to solve the complex challenges dwelling on the ocean presents, such as economically providing energy, fresh water, food, safety and real-time communication.
Nation states presently exert dominion over Individuals and foreign affairs, as every Libertopian can tell you. But this Berlin Wall falls when a Seastead negotiates a treaty with a land-based entity providing for visitor and residency visas, and investment terms and incentives, for Seasteaders. New polities offering an array of socio-economic and political terms under which Individuals may abide indefinitely enables Individuals to peacefully self-establish political asylum. The following broadly discusses this bright picture.
Citizen A of any country obtains permission to reside at Seastead X, pursuant to the terms and conditions of Seastead X. Citizen A may obtain concurrent citizenship, subjecting Citizen A to the terms of mother country and Seastead X. Or Citizen A may renounce his/her native citizenship. Individuals who renounce will only possess a Seastead ‘Identity’, and may be fairly said to occupy a sort of living political purgatory between traditional citizenship and technical international anonymity.
Power of Self-Established Asylum
Citizen A renounces his/her native citizenship under protest, on any grounds (maltreatment by or conscientious objection to mother country) and obtains indefinite asylum aboard Seastead X. For such Individuals Seastead X is a valuable, and previously unavailable, forum for self-imposed political exile lasting until mother country enacts reforms sufficient to entice their return. Phrased another way, Seasteading permits Individuals to peacefully ‘opt-out’ of existing State systems. Importantly, however, no such public protest is necessary, and there may be many advantages to confidentially seeking asylum and citizenship at sea.
Citizen A may live aboard Seastead X, harboring some or all of his/her assets there. Or, he/she may reside in land-based countries and territories with which Seastead X has negotiated treaties providing for tourist and residency visas, safe harbor for financial assets, and investment incentives. Many countries already offer investment incentives and free economic zones in which foreign residents may live and work remotely. The emerging Honduran free cities might be instantly amenable to such a treaty.
On this point, it should be noted that the mere prospect of perfectly good human and financial capital floating at sea was among the reasons Honduras amended its Constitution to permit Special Development Regions. Honduras’ immediate interest in providing forums for innovative government suggests that additional land-based countries may proactively court Seasteaders, their assets and burgeoning cultures.
As stated previouslythe Berlin Wall of nation state hegemony falls when a Seastead negotiates a treaty with a land-based entity providing for visitor and residency visas, and investment terms and incentives, for Seasteaders. Each land-based nation that accepts the residents of Seastead X further legitimizes the concept and practice of Seasteading, and normalizes the concept of self-established sovereignty.
While attracting industrious and peaceful Seasteaders and their assets is a strong incentive for land-based nations to legitimize Seasteading through acceptance, there are also compelling, non-financial motives for nations, industries, and Individuals to support the concept of Seasteading.
Private Space Industry
Now that a private space company has successfully delivered cargo to the International Space Station, the burgeoning private space sector may have significant interest in establishing autonomous political bases on earth from which to explore space and to provide space services to nation-‐states lacking space capabilities. However proud Sir Richard Branson is to be British, the prospect of entering space—the ultimate frontier—on his political terms, rather than those of Great Britain (or the United States, where Virgin Galactica’s physical operations currently reside) presents untold advantages warranting consideration.
Individuals Already In Political Purgatory
Consider Seasteading’s appeal to non-native Emirate Individuals born in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Such Individuals (often of Indian ethnicity) may not technically be citizens of the UAE or any other country, placing them in a type of living political purgatory or state of anonymity that effectively prohibits them from traveling, migrating or meaningfully affecting domestic politics. For such Individuals establishing independent bases of ‘sovereignty’ may be necessary to obtain even the barest of human rights.
Globally Oriented Businesses
Globally oriented businesses are curiously tethered to the whims of existing nations. Why? They don’t have to be, and increasingly they hold the cards.
Consider Apple, which famously has $64 Billion in cash lying fallow due to American economic disincentives. Apple might better serve its global customer base by reestablishing itself, or a portion of its present or future operations, on a Seastead. And imagine the howling protest citizens of existing nation-states would muster if their government refused to allow Apple products entry because Apple tolerates, supports, or participates, in what amounts to a necessary and just end-around of the existing status quo.
Groups in Exile
Many identifiable ethnic and cultural groups lack sovereign physical territory, such as the 5 million (plus) Circassions in exile worldwide. Establishing a Seastead (or a borough within a free city…) will afford such groups a political voice, and could conceivably result in better treatment and a peaceful return to homeland. In the interim, self-establishing political marks the beginning of the end of exile, and may result in previously closeted ethnic and cultural groups gaining international recognition. In time, such groups, now possessing an identifiable ‘territory’ could conceivably participate in the Olympic games.
Individual Conscientious Objectors
What if the Dalai Lama obtained asylum aboard a Seastead, effectively renouncing the International status quo, which treats him as a political puppet? Would land-based nations deny his Seastead passport and refuse him entry? What if he refuses to visit countries that deny the legitimacy of his self-determined citizenship? How loud would Humanity howl?
Recently a brave North Korean escapee confirmed the (long suspected) existence of prisoner breeding camps in North Korea producing de facto slaves for relatively short, malnourished lifetimes of forced labor to that wretched State. Even by North Korea’s miserable standards this is particularly reprehensible, and should be considered among the greatest humanitarian crises on earth. It should further remind that any “humanitarian” argument for military intervention in Syria or elsewhere demands immediate action in North Korea. For many political reasons, however, North Koreans should expect no such help. Conversely, if and when military intervention occurs in Syria, as Libya before it, it will be due to politics, and certainly not humanity.
This is but one example of the political status quo preventing meaningful humanitarian action even where every moral fiber demands it, and highlights why humanity needs new players and fresh ideas in the International political arena. The emergence of polities unencumbered by the political status quo provides sovereign bully pulpits from which concerned Individuals may advocate for economic, civil and political reform in mother nations, and, most importantly, actually undertake politically meaningful humanitarian action–Such as globally concerned citizens financing a Seastead purposed to housing oppressed political dissidents when other countries chicken out.
Advent of self-established political asylum mechanisms launches a political market for and by the earth’s industrious that will end the nation-State monopoly over industrious Individuals. Seasteading will prove to be a valuable check and balance on the (current) excesses of modern social democracies, and it is capable of ending the nation-State monopoly. That alone is sufficient reason to politically set out to sea.
Freedom is Happening.Aloha, Ryan William Nohea Garcia Individual, Entrepreneur, Esq. DuelingBarstools | @Divinryan ==============================Libertopia Oct 11–14 2012, San Diego CA