Where could be liberty’s “next frontier”? Unfortunately, it won’t be in Honduras’ Special Development Regions, areas the Honduran Congress designated as largely autonomous to promote innovative government and free enterprise. The Honduran Supreme Court recently declared these regions unconstitutional because they would “privatise the Honduran state and make it disappear…”
Liberty’s “next frontier” may be on the high seas. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a nation’s jurisdiction over its adjacent sea(s) extends up to 200 nautical miles from the nation’s continental shelf or other “baselin[e] from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.” However, the rest of the high seas, shown in the following map’s shades of turquoise, are international waters and free from any one nation’s control:
Source: Sea Around Us Project
Seasteads, dwellings at sea, could establish new societies on the high seas. Unlike temporary oil rigs or large naval vessels that can resemble “floating cities,” seasteads are permanent, autonomous ocean communities. There are no sovereign seastead nations. However, the Principality of Sealand, founded in 1967 on a former World War II fort seven miles offshore of England, has declared itself a sovereign government. According to its founders, this principality is a constitutional monarchy and has a currency.
Today, Patri Friedman, grandson of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, and philanthropist Peter Thiel, are heading a new and dynamic seasteading initiative. Friedman and Thiel founded The Seasteading Institute, a non-profit think tank with the mission of furthering “the long-term growth of the seasteading movement.” With seasteads, Friedman and Thiel hope to make laboratories for experimenting with innovative forms of government. In a recent issue of Discover Magazine, Friedman said, “It’s not about one person’s vision of utopia, because most people’s visions won’t work in practice…The concept is to open a new frontier so that a bunch of people can go out and try a bunch of ideas.” Thus, there could be seasteads with libertarian, communist, or even no governments.
The Seasteading Institute’s Poseidon Award for the first independent seasteading community, which the institute hopes to bestow by 2015, will be a monument to the seasteading pioneers. The winning seastead must fulfill the following requirements:
- Have at least 50 full-time residents and de-facto political autonomy
- Be financially self-sufficient
- Offer seastead real-estate on the open market
Seasteaders-at-heart: In what type of seastead would you live? I’d live in a libertarian seastead integrating concepts of individual liberty, limited government, and the rule of law. In a future article, I’ll describe my ideal seastead.