Danny O’Brien has an interesting post about Seasteading — creating small autonomous states that can exist on platforms at sea, independent of existing governments.
Patri’s underlying theory is that the reason why governments aren’t terribly efficient is because the market for governments isn’t very competitive: there are terrible barriers of entry to becoming a government, and your customers don’t have much room to shop around. The solution? Dynamic geography — in which one builds states composed of units that can wander off when the state they’re in (or rather, tethered to) becomes less than ideal. Homestead the seas with mobile, inhabited, relatively self-sufficient platforms, able to join together, outside of current jurisdictions, and you can create competitive governance experiments with free movement between them.
This isn’t entirely new — Sealand has been around in the North Sea for some time (read a Wired story from 2000) but The Seasteading Institute makes it seem like an only more slightly unlikely offshoot of the Off-Grid movement (if that is a movement rather than publicity for Nick Rosen’s book). A bunch of funding and a conference step it up a level and I can’t help thinking that long term there are going to be more and more attempts to find ways around conventional nationalities and borders.
It also ties in nicely with Google’s recent patent for a “water-based data centre”.