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skeeterses
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/silico...-140840896.html
QUOTE
Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.

Presumably, the "Libertarian Island(s)" being built will be small city states consisting entirely of wealthy inhabitants. As much as Libertarians like talking about the virtues of a free market, for some reason, my gut feeling says that Libertarian island will not be a place where an unemployed American can drop in uninvited, get a menial job, and then work his/way up the economic ladder.

QUOTE
Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons."

For example, if their goal is to get out of paying taxes to the Federal Government, these "libertarian freedoms" could make the islands an easy target for any of the dangers lurking in the ocean. Building a real navy to protect these libertarian residents from pirates may cost a lot more than these wealthy libertarians may like to pay. And if these wealthy libertarians have no experience in construction, looser building codes could be disasterous if a hurricane comes along. Then there's the question of how much wealth these wealthy libertarians have. If some disaster happened in finances, like a default on the National Debt or any kind of hyperinflation scenerio, what kind of economy could "Libertarian Island" build besides fishing if these inhabitants couldn't continue to finance their vacation on Pleasure Island? I just think these Libertarian millionaires will find that building a nation is not quite the same as building a business.

So, the question for debate is,
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?
2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?
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Hobbes
QUOTE(skeeterses @ Aug 16 2011, 03:49 PM) *
Presumably, the "Libertarian Island(s)" being built will be small city states consisting entirely of wealthy inhabitants. As much as Libertarians like talking about the virtues of a free market, for some reason, my gut feeling says that Libertarian island will not be a place where an unemployed American can drop in uninvited, get a menial job, and then work his/way up the economic ladder.


First, why do you assume it would be populated entirely by wealthy inhabitants? What would they gain, or even do, on such an island?

Second, why do you think capitalism wouldn't be prevalent there (your example of someone not being allowed to work), when that is one of the main premises of libertarianism? My gut feeling is the opposite--such people would thrive there, most especially if your premise of it being populated entirely of wealthy people. Someone has to do all the menial stuff they wouldn't want to do, and supply of labor would be limited, so wages would be high. They'd welcome the workers, and the workers would love the wages.


QUOTE
For example, if their goal is to get out of paying taxes to the Federal Government, these "libertarian freedoms" could make the islands an easy target for any of the dangers lurking in the ocean. Building a real navy to protect these libertarian residents from pirates may cost a lot more than these wealthy libertarians may like to pay. And if these wealthy libertarians have no experience in construction, looser building codes could be disasterous if a hurricane comes along. Then there's the question of how much wealth these wealthy libertarians have. If some disaster happened in finances, like a default on the National Debt or any kind of hyperinflation scenerio, what kind of economy could "Libertarian Island" build besides fishing if these inhabitants couldn't continue to finance their vacation on Pleasure Island? I just think these Libertarian millionaires will find that building a nation is not quite the same as building a business.


All based upon the faulty, or at least unproven, hypothesis that only wealthy people would want to go there, and that the fundamental premise of libertarianism is to get out of paying taxes. While anarchism is sometimes defined as being part of the libertarian spectrum, there is also a corresponding leftist perspective. But I think the vast majority of current libertarians, especially in the U.S., fall into the individualism construct, or those closely related to it, which has more to do with protection of individual rights than it does reduction of the state. Assuming that is the case, rather than anarchism, then Libertarian Island becomes a much different place than what you seem to be describing.


1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Sure, why not? An island proclaming adherence to any political philosophy could be built. The more interesting question is: Where would it end up?

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Again, sure, why not? This question also seems based on the concept of anarchism, which, at best, is a very small segment of those espousing libertarian beliefs. I think you could make a stronger case that nations burdened by governmental excess are in much more need of support than a libertarian state would be. Now, might it need initial alliances, but that shouldn't be for long. Besides, if indeed it were populated entirely be wealthy individuals, other states would be beating on its doors to form alliances with them...not the other way around.
akaCG
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Yes.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Yes.

BTW, ...

Thought it might be helpful to link up to the Seasteading Institute's website, particularly their FAQ page, which does a good job of addressing issues such as ...

Who will live there?

Is seasteading just for libertarians?

Are seasteading enthusiasts just a bunch of rich guys wanting even more freedom?

What about hurricanes?

What about pirates?

... etc.

skeeterses
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 17 2011, 07:08 AM) *
First, why do you assume it would be populated entirely by wealthy inhabitants? What would they gain, or even do, on such an island?

Second, why do you think capitalism wouldn't be prevalent there (your example of someone not being allowed to work), when that is one of the main premises of libertarianism? My gut feeling is the opposite--such people would thrive there, most especially if your premise of it being populated entirely of wealthy people. Someone has to do all the menial stuff they wouldn't want to do, and supply of labor would be limited, so wages would be high. They'd welcome the workers, and the workers would love the wages.

Artificial islands aren't cheap to build. With that said, real estate is going to be quite limited and the libertarian owners will need some mechanism for controlling the numbers of people who can apply to live on the island. One effective mechanism for controlling the number of people in a city is the rent of the available living spaces. One possibility is that the menial workers may end up sharing one small apartment. Another possibility is that the libertarian owners might just do the menial work themselves.

And depending on where this island is, there may be an awful lot of poor people who can reach the island by building their own rafts. There are a lot of poor people in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island regions who are desperate enough to try reaching Libertarian Island by canoe.

QUOTE
2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Again, sure, why not? This question also seems based on the concept of anarchism, which, at best, is a very small segment of those espousing libertarian beliefs. I think you could make a stronger case that nations burdened by governmental excess are in much more need of support than a libertarian state would be. Now, might it need initial alliances, but that shouldn't be for long. Besides, if indeed it were populated entirely be wealthy individuals, other states would be beating on its doors to form alliances with them...not the other way around.

And what if the other countries would rather seize that wealth? Whatever the merits of libertarianism may be, unfortunately we don't live in a libertarian world. Alliances are important, but if the libertarian owners want the protection of another country's navy, the other country may want the libertarian owners to pick up the entire tab for the security.
cicero
It is like the fabled Sandy Springs, Georgia who privatized just about everything in the city. Now, the world is perfect… well duh because Sandy Springs is only in one of the most affluent areas of the nation! Rich and powerful people can do these kind of things.

1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

It can and it will. I am surprised this was not thought of sooner. This idea works because being rich works.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

They just need rich and powerful people not nations. Nations are there to just provide resources and America is just one of many.

This all makes me think of the game Brink. Except this time there is nothing ideal about it if you ask me. Rich or not I do not care because how you treat people and the world is what matters not your wealth or status.
CruisingRam
It can be built, all it takes is money and time. One of the backers seems to have both.

Why can't they hire thier own private army to protect them if they have the money to do it? It would be silly to think that only rich would be there- who would wait on the rich hand and foot? Usually, cruise liners have a ratio of help to customers, and I have no reason to think "libertarian island" would be any different. The only concern is how to keep the rich from literally raping and enslaving the help. Can the rich police themselves when they are so used to not having any consequences of their behaviors? That would be my only concern really. Can the rich hold themselves to a constitution and not turn it into a slave island in reality?

Personally, I hope it works. and it will show me that free enterprise can truly exist without devolving into a slave state.
AuthorMusician
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

I suppose so. It would be living on a very tiny piece of artificial real estate, so I imagine that housing costs would be extremely high. Energy costs might be low due to the use of alternative sources, which will likely be necessary. Food costs? Fish would be cheap. Fresh vegetables and fruit could be grown hydroponically to avoid scurvy.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Whatever they do on the island will need to be supported by a customer base that is off the island. This can be done by being outsourcers, yet I'm wondering how cheap labor will be attracted to the island without subsidization housing costs. Or would workers work and live in the same space? Doesn't seem very appealing to me.

Communications could be a serious problem, since none can exist without the support from other nations. Will other nations let the islands gain access to their networks? What would stop other nations from charging very high rates? Then there are the high costs of shipping stuff to the islands. It wouldn't be your cool UPS/Fed Ex deliveries.

But say the islands become self-sustaining communities. Would Libertarian ideals still be workable in that situation, or would a stricter social order need to be enforced through law? But that's the point, isn't it? Experimentation.

Ah well, lots of things could happen. Let's see if wealthy Libertarians can figure it out or if the pigs end up urinating on the constitution (Animal Farm). I can also imagine other scenarios more appropriate for a Steven King or Dean Koontz novel.
Mrs. Pigpen
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Sure, why not? Lots of ideologies that fail on a large scale due to practical limitations can work on a small scale when everyone is amenable. Communism works very well for hippy communes and religious sects throughout the world. Thousands practice a money-less system at burning man every year. I see no reason why this would be different.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Depends if they're attacked or not. Most communes and religious sects survive by being inside an area that is well-defended (even if they themselves do not participate in that defense). Or they encounter what happened at the Tibetian monasteries. If they build a lot of material wealth and have something that others want law of the jungle applies, so they'd better have an adequate means of defense for insurance...though that would cut into their profits.
CruisingRam
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 17 2011, 05:01 AM) *
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Sure, why not? Lots of ideologies that fail on a large scale due to practical limitations can work on a small scale when everyone is amenable. Communism works very well for hippy communes and religious sects throughout the world. Thousands practice a money-less system at burning man every year. I see no reason why this would be different.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Depends if they're attacked or not. Most communes and religious sects survive by being inside an area that is well-defended (even if they themselves do not participate in that defense). Or they encounter what happened at the Tibetian monasteries. If they build a lot of material wealth and have something that others want law of the jungle applies, so they'd better have an adequate means of defense for insurance...though that would cut into their profits.


This was my thought as well- as long as it doesn't grow too large, might work.
JohnfrmCleveland
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Yes.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Eh, not so much.

When I think of Libertarian Island, a few images come to my mind. The first one is of Aspen, where real estate within the city limits is so expensive that the worker bees live cheaply in other cities and commute in to cater to the rich. The other image is of the Thai(?) people that live and do business from their river boats.

Put this island out so far that it cannot be serviced by another country's supply of cheap labor (like a real island), and I don't think you will end up with such a paradise.

Making money, though, wouldn't be a problem. I can see the attraction to offshore Libertarian banking. Imagine Switzerland, but without all of their governmental interference. They could be the money laundering capital of the world!
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WillyPete
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Of course. We have had ships capable of supporting thousands of people for weeks at a time for decades, and it's not like they're leaving the planet. Scaling up shouldn't be too hard, and everything else is logistics and money.


2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Depends on what function means in context. Sure it CAN, until the investors bail, pirates attack, or the well of interested tourists dries up. The better questions is WHY should it? What can this floating scaffolding do that we can't do on dry land? Sealand has existed for decades, and yet most of us have never heard of it, mainly because it's not especially interesting. This would be a moving version of that. More so, since it it would exist in uncontrolled waters. Sealand is "independent" but located in very well controlled waters.

To be anything more than a super cruise ship, you need services that make use of the ocean, such as harvesting the ocean's mechanical energy, harvesting\processing plankton for food, solar energy, wrangling whales, no limits gambling, death sports, whatever people will visit to see, or pay to buy.

I don't see any of those as the up and coming thing, or expect any near-term breakthroughs, so it's a hard sell for me. This appears to be a solution looking for a problem.
Julian
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Of course. Few things are impossible, given sufficient will.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

I dare say they can.

Of course, it could be argued that 'libertarian islands' of a sort already exist in the shape of the world's tax havens, most of which are islands which tax their own inhabitants at low or zero rates and which govern themselves for the most part giving great freedom from government (which is the kind of freedom the particular facet of libertarianism proposing the creation of these new islands seem to find attractive above all others). There's a big drawback to these existing 'libertarian islands' though - the existing inhabitants don't really want any more pressure on their land from large influxes of more people, so they tend to be very selective in who they let in. A bunch of gun-happy Americans are not likely to be highly attractive to them. devil.gif I'm being facetious, but in doing so I'm backing up skeeterses speculations about what might happen if artificial islands like this do get built - yes, people living there will want to restrict entry to the bare minimum of menial workers who are necessary for functional services plus the bare minimum of people who will "get" what the idea is about. Can't be having any rich folks who'll start giving land away to poor people so they can live there permanently.

And the big questions that are missing from the way you've framed the debate skeeterses (deliberately or not) is should an artificial libertarian island be created. And would the remainder of America be better off having got rid of all the government-o-phobes and tax-o-phobes who stop anythihng really useful getting done? wink.gif

But if you want to know what Libertarian Island would look like after a while, play Bioshock
jaellon
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

The general technology is already there, in the form of oil rigs and cruise ships. The specific technology isn't too hard to extend from that. Assuming you have a wealthy backer, and can build up to it in incremental steps.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

Not at first, no, but the Seasteading Institute isn't claiming to start out independent. According to a CNN story 2 years ago, and a news story related to Peter Thiel's donation, the first stage of the plan is to build a prototype seasteading just offshore from San Francisco. It's going to be entirely dependent on California and the United States for its economy and security.

Once they work the kinks out of that, there's no reason they couldn't build another one 50 miles offshore, then another just inside territorial waters, and then another in international waters. Even at that point, they can still fly a "flag of convenience" (see the FAQ) aligning themselves with a particular country, until such time as they can seek independence. It's just baby steps.




lo rez
It reminds me of this comic strip.
CruisingRam
QUOTE(jaellon @ Aug 17 2011, 11:25 AM) *
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

the first stage of the plan is to build a prototype seasteading just offshore from San Francisco. It's going to be entirely dependent on California and the United States for its economy and security.


Which means they have to pay federal taxes and conform to California and Federal laws and regulations- not the libertarian paradise of no rules at that point- can't even smoke reeefer legally! w00t.gif
Hobbes
QUOTE(JohnfrmCleveland @ Aug 17 2011, 12:38 PM) *
When I think of Libertarian Island, a few images come to my mind. The first one is of Aspen, where real estate within the city limits is so expensive that the worker bees live cheaply in other cities and commute in to cater to the rich. The other image is of the Thai(?) people that live and do business from their river boats.


Assuming the Aspen analogy is correct (and I think it might be), then that is exactly what would happen -- the worker bees would live cheaply elsewhere and commute in. Happens all the time. Eventually, cheaper suburbs might spring up for them to be located closer.

QUOTE
Put this island out so far that it cannot be serviced by another country's supply of cheap labor (like a real island), and I don't think you will end up with such a paradise.


Then the cheaper suburb would be created sooner. I can't think of a single place, either currently or any time in history, when rich people were unable to find service people to cater to them, and there's no reason to think this would be the first---because there's no reason it couldn't/wouldn't happen.

QUOTE
Making money, though, wouldn't be a problem[/b]. I can see the attraction to offshore Libertarian banking. Imagine Switzerland, but without all of their governmental interference. They could be the money laundering capital of the world!


Which would then solve all of the problems presented thus far in this thread. Money literally can solve most ills, and it seems there is common agreement LI wouldn't lack for money.

As for defense, consider The Mouse That Roared...except this time it is an extremely rich, well connected Mouse!
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 17 2011, 07:17 PM) *
Which would then solve all of the problems presented thus far in this thread. Money literally can solve most ills, and it seems there is common agreement LI wouldn't lack for money.

As for defense, consider The Mouse That Roared...except this time it is an extremely rich, well connected Mouse!


I don't understand the Mouse that Roared analogy. Money by itself isn't worth much without the means to keep it. Ask the guy with 10,000 dollars in his pocket in a dark alley in Liberty city, Miami.

The money can pay for protection in theory, if there's a functioning system to offer enforceable law...but in a case like this there's really no reason that "protection" wouldn't turn into a mafia-style exploitive relationship where Libertaria pays for said "protection" which isn't really protection at all.
cicero
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 17 2011, 06:57 PM) *
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 17 2011, 07:17 PM) *
Which would then solve all of the problems presented thus far in this thread. Money literally can solve most ills, and it seems there is common agreement LI wouldn't lack for money.

As for defense, consider The Mouse That Roared...except this time it is an extremely rich, well connected Mouse!


I don't understand the Mouse that Roared analogy. Money by itself isn't worth much without the means to keep it. Ask the guy with 10,000 dollars in his pocket in a dark alley in Liberty city, Miami.

The money can pay for protection in theory, if there's a functioning system to offer enforceable law...but in a case like this there's really no reason that "protection" wouldn't turn into a mafia-style exploitive relationship where Libertaria pays for said "protection" which isn't really protection at all.


I am not sure where the whole mafia style rule is coming from here. I understand what people are saying but why can’t a bunch of billion and millionaires build their own city-state using their companies and working with nations around the world? Their “hired help” with be a mix of private security companies too privatized healthcare. The “poorer workers” will be cooks, cleaners, maintenance workers, etc but just like a company would function this city will function in my view. The city will likely be run by a board of investors and technocrats... powerholders I would call them.

If they are truly serious about trying to make a libertarian utopia, if you will, then we are talking about an absolute free market and minimalist government. The outcome seems to me predictable but because we have never had a nation with a true free market and minimalist government (minimalist to their standards) I hope they build it only so I can say, "I knew it!" tongue.gif

Personally, this city seems excessively wasteful. Instead of building a city-state for corporate bosses and super rich why not use these resources to help fight hunger, fix America’s education system, and other serious issues.

By the way, I am willing to bet it won’t be just libertarians but ranging from men like George Soros to the Koch brothers.
Dingo
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?
Who knows, but I'd like to see them give it a try. On the surface it would seem to be similar to an island culture without the land or a cruise liner without the expandability. Libertarianism as ideology(Think Ayn Rand) I don't have much interest in since I find it to be mainly self-contradictory, nonapplicable vapor talk like its cousin free market ideology divorced from real cost pricing. What does interest me is the potential experiment in community self-sufficiency. If they can pull that off then the community can be a model for communities all over the world. I thing the self-sufficient community is a critical piece in solving the challenges that face us in the future.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?
I don't know about direct subsidies but obviously if major countries don't see the existence of these modular islands as being in their interests they will be history.
Hobbes
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 17 2011, 06:57 PM) *
I don't understand the Mouse that Roared analogy.


If a small country with essentially nothing going for it can get the most powerful country on earth to do its bidding...then why should that same country with powerful interests not be able to do the same.

QUOTE
The money can pay for protection in theory, if there's a functioning system to offer enforceable law


Why wouldn't there be? How could LI protect individual rights (one of the fundamental tenets of Libertarianism) without it?

QUOTE
...but in a case like this there's really no reason that "protection" wouldn't turn into a mafia-style exploitive relationship where Libertaria pays for said "protection" which isn't really protection at all.


Why not? Especially if said paid protection was more protection than they could provide on their own. Personally, I think this issue is getting overblown. If they're a ship, what they really need protection from is pirates, and they should be able to afford more than sufficient forces for that. A few 50 cal guns, mounted strategically, should suffice.

QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 17 2011, 06:57 PM) *
I don't understand the Mouse that Roared analogy.


If a small country with essentially nothing going for it can get the most powerful country on earth to do its bidding...then why should that same country with powerful interests not be able to do the same.

QUOTE
The money can pay for protection in theory, if there's a functioning system to offer enforceable law


Why wouldn't there be? How could LI protect individual rights (one of the fundamental tenets of Libertarianism) without it?

QUOTE
...but in a case like this there's really no reason that "protection" wouldn't turn into a mafia-style exploitive relationship where Libertaria pays for said "protection" which isn't really protection at all.


Why not? Especially if said paid protection was more protection than they could provide on their own. Personally, I think this issue is getting overblown. If they're a ship, what they really need protection from is pirates, and they should be able to afford more than sufficient forces for that. A few 50 cal guns, mounted strategically, should suffice.
Curmudgeon
So, the question for debate is,
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

If someone can figure out how to manage a large construction project with no enforceable building codes...

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

I suspect that if such an "island nation" is built, it will rely on alternative power supplies such as wind, solar, etc. It will be owned and operated by a corporate group named something like "Canadian Pharmacy." It will have no reason for direct human intervention. (I recall troubleshooting in a factory in Michigan that was being operated from a control room in California.) It will likely have a satellite dish farm to connect it to the Internet. It will be totally irrelevant what currency it collects for the products it is not actually selling, and it will be incredibly shielded behind a layer of "Corporate owners" based in third world countries. Ultimately, no actual humans should need to actually live on this "paradise;" as redundant capabilities can be designed in, and the actual operating computer system could exist in a "cloud" somewhere.

Until it is attacked, completely blown out of the water, and still continues to operate; speculators will profit from their investment. At that point, the value of the stock will really mushroom...
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 17 2011, 11:09 PM) *
QUOTE
The money can pay for protection in theory, if there's a functioning system to offer enforceable law


1.Why wouldn't there be? 2.How could LI protect individual rights (one of the fundamental tenets of Libertarianism) without it?


1. How could there be? (I'm honestly curious, spell this out for me please...I want to know exactly how this country could feasibly enforce equitable law over its society and curb predatory/exploitive violence) 2. They couldn't.

QUOTE
QUOTE
...but in a case like this there's really no reason that "protection" wouldn't turn into a mafia-style exploitive relationship where Libertaria pays for said "protection" which isn't really protection at all.


Why not? Especially if said paid protection was more protection than they could provide on their own. Personally, I think this issue is getting overblown. If they're a ship, what they really need protection from is pirates, and they should be able to afford more than sufficient forces for that. A few 50 cal guns, mounted strategically, should suffice.


A single RPG could blow a hole in that ship's hull. Then where would they be?
Hobbes
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 18 2011, 08:28 AM) *
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 17 2011, 11:09 PM) *
QUOTE
The money can pay for protection in theory, if there's a functioning system to offer enforceable law


1.Why wouldn't there be? 2.How could LI protect individual rights (one of the fundamental tenets of Libertarianism) without it?


1. How could there be? (I'm honestly curious, spell this out for me please...I want to know exactly how this country could feasibly enforce equitable law over its society and curb predatory/exploitive violence) 2. They couldn't.


With a police force, just like everywhere else. Again, there seems to be this assumption they'd have no government, no laws, no societal structure at all, and I don't understand where that assumption comes from. There would still be government, laws, police forces--there just wouldn't be any laws violating individual rights. Predatory/exploitive violence surely does that. So, they would curb predatory/exploitive violence by arresting the perpetrators, and probably removing them from the ship, possibly by simply tossing them off smile.gif

QUOTE
A single RPG could blow a hole in that ship's hull. Then where would they be?


Busy repairing the ship, and going about their other business? This has happened before, and damage was minimal...plus that was on undefended ships, whereas this one would surely have some defenses, and probably patrol boats as well.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 18 2011, 10:37 AM) *
With a police force, just like everywhere else. Again, there seems to be this assumption they'd have no government, no laws, no societal structure at all, and I don't understand where that assumption comes from.


That isn't the assumption (at least not from me). The Island would have to have a government and set of laws, and societal structure. I'm specifically asking how they would go about that in a way that could feasibly work?

Make it a smaller scenario of your home to illustrate the point. Let's assume you want a lot of protection and you are very rich. You buy some hired guns to patrol your house....what keeps them from taking all of your loot instead of patrolling your home? Overriding higher force (even so, it can happen...far less here with law that is more likely to be enforced than somewhere like portions of South America where that type of exploitive practice is pretty prevalent).

Without an overriding higher force of law they could easily take over your home, along with all the other homes they "patrol". Alternately, they could turn into a mafia and simply continue to charge you/kidnap your home family members/business associates/friends. How would this Island prevent that sort of exploitive practice en masse? That's why I used the earlier analogy of a man with 10,000 dollars in his pocket in an alley in Liberty City...wealth by itself doesn't protect anyone. Point a gun at that man and his wealth is gone. He might do fine dressed as a vagrant and dirty (no one would know he had 10000 in his pocket then), but wearing a Rolex and suit in that environment he wouldn't do well at all....he'd simply provide himself as a major target, just like "uber-rich Libertaria" would be.



QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 18 2011, 10:37 AM) *
QUOTE
A single RPG could blow a hole in that ship's hull. Then where would they be?


Busy repairing the ship, and going about their other business? This has happened before, and damage was minimal...plus that was on undefended ships, whereas this one would surely have some defenses, and probably patrol boats as well.


This is getting pretty silly Hobbes. Surely you know there are plenty of ways to take out a ship. German U boats did it on a regular basis 70 years ago.
WillyPete
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 17 2011, 04:57 PM) *
The money can pay for protection in theory, if there's a functioning system to offer enforceable law...but in a case like this there's really no reason that "protection" wouldn't turn into a mafia-style exploitive relationship where Libertaria pays for said "protection" which isn't really protection at all.

Mrs. P, the same holds true for every military force, including the U.S. One of our first national crises involved us settling with the Continental army over back pay. The "Newburgh Conspiracy" very nearly went violent and could easily have transitioned into a military coupe, if George Washington hadn't been the man he was.

So there is no guarantee, but a investor\dictator could defer payment until after a term of service, so that the "on station" security team wouldn't be paid their full salary until their term was up. That provides incentive to protect the wealthy man (and whoever else they decide to include in the contract) and to avoid a coupe, or not get paid. If they got room and board, and perhaps credit on available services on LI, what would be the objection?

If an outside agent\nation attacked the LI, it would their problem to defend. There are absolutely multiple ways to destroy a boat, but a big boat, properly designed and organized, is pretty hard to destroy, and would take much more than a single torpedo or missile strike.

Properly defending a such a contraption will involve redundant sonar, radar, drivers patrolling, picket boats, patrol aircraft, damage control teams, and on-board police\soldiers. It's a bit of a production, but if they want to play nation they'll be playing for keeps.
Hobbes
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 18 2011, 10:03 AM) *
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 18 2011, 10:37 AM) *
With a police force, just like everywhere else. Again, there seems to be this assumption they'd have no government, no laws, no societal structure at all, and I don't understand where that assumption comes from.


That isn't the assumption (at least not from me). The Island would have to have a government and set of laws, and societal structure. I'm specifically asking how they would go about that in a way that could feasibly work?


The same way it happens here, and everywhere else. It does seem like you are making the assumption I alluded to--if not, I'm not understanding your question.

QUOTE
Without an overriding higher force of law they could easily take over your home, along with all the other homes they "patrol". Alternately, they could turn into a mafia and simply continue to charge you/kidnap your home family members/business associates/friends. How would this Island prevent that sort of exploitive practice en masse?


With their police force, again, just like everywhere else.

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That's why I used the earlier analogy of a man with 10,000 dollars in his pocket in an alley in Liberty City...wealth by itself doesn't protect anyone. Point a gun at that man and his wealth is gone. He might do fine dressed as a vagrant and dirty (no one would know he had 10000 in his pocket then), but wearing a Rolex and suit in that environment he wouldn't do well at all....he'd simply provide himself as a major target, just like "uber-rich Libertaria" would be.


How would this be any different than that same man walking down any other alley in any other city in any other country?



QUOTE
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 18 2011, 10:37 AM) *
QUOTE
A single RPG could blow a hole in that ship's hull. Then where would they be?


Busy repairing the ship, and going about their other business? This has happened before, and damage was minimal...plus that was on undefended ships, whereas this one would surely have some defenses, and probably patrol boats as well.


This is getting pretty silly Hobbes. Surely you know there are plenty of ways to take out a ship. German U boats did it on a regular basis 70 years ago.


Yes, it is. Name me one cruise ship (probably the best analogy) sunk by subs since WWII? There aren't any. Ditto for any of the numerous others ways we could say a ship could be taken out, none of which have ever really happened since WWII. I'm not understanding the point to it.
quarkhead
If I were a kingpin in the international drug trade I'd be interested in this boat. There are wealthy cartels who could afford to develop safe and legal operations there; I'd be interested in setting up a cocaine or opium processing facility there. Or maybe a lab to produce meth, or Ecstasy. Of course, many nations would have a problem with this. I imagine that like other nations, the floating Libertarian nation would have to engage other nations and develop treaties etc. Powerful trading partners like the US and China might not sanction trade without certain guarantees concerning such activities - that don't fall under the rubric of "individual harm" yet are not sanctioned in many or most nations on earth. Were I a nuclear engineer, what would prevent me from moving to the island and then setting up a business where I make money by selling nuclear technology and know-how to any organizations that can pony up the cash?

Those are just two ideas off the top of my head. In both cases, I could argue I am not violating the libertarian rule of law - after all, either could be done without violating the personal liberties of my neighbors. However, both would threaten the safety of the island, because there are some powerful countries that would be strongly opposed to such activity happening anywhere. In order to maintain trade treaties with such nations, the Libertarian island might be forced to outlaw certain activities, even activities that should be acceptable in a libertarian system.

They also say they will have a litigation-based justice system. They're going to need a lot of lawyers! On the FAQ page I noticed they mentioned pollution production being controlled by a system of fines. But if I were a wealthy polluter in this system, I'd have a big team of lawyers to argue that I am not directly harming others. Indirect harm, such as certain pollutants, is much harder to prove. In a system where litigation is the primary means of enforcement, I could really drag out the process. I suppose they could set up some very rigorous and wide-ranging definitions concerning indirect harm, but there would still inevitably be grey areas.

I'd also be interested to see what sort of health care system develops on this island. I imagine at first, with only the extremely wealthy able to live there, it would be pretty easy. If it ever grows to the point where there is economic stratification, they will run into inevitable dilemmas. Will they have physicians who do not adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, which is decidedly not of a libertarian nature? Will emergency care be denied those who cannot afford it? Will the poor in Freelandia die in the street if they cannot afford care? Will they have any contingencies for the disabled? For a poor family with a special-needs child whose care they cannot afford?
Paladin Elspeth
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

Yes, probably.

2. Can a Libertarian Island function without support from wealthy nations like America?

I suppose it could function without the support of a wealthy nation as long as the money didn't run out, and as long as a hurricane and/or tsunami didn't hit it directly, or as long as a group of terrorists didn't target it for being a "Little Satan."

Of course, its welfare would be dependent upon the safety and reliability of the transportation by air and sea. This would be a point of vulnerability. Points of departure from the mainland would have to be patrolled diligently to prevent security breaches, considering that the inhabitants of this "island" are wealthy and therefore attractive targets.

Should any inhabitants experience catastrophic financial reversals, I'm wondering what would be done with them. Surely there would be no beggars on such a structure, so would they be thrown off the island or given the choice of going into indentured servitude?

If it were a truly libertarian society, could one expect red light districts and drug dealers? After all, individual freedom is the primary consideration, right?
Hobbes
QUOTE(quarkhead @ Aug 18 2011, 02:17 PM) *
If I were a kingpin in the international drug trade I'd be interested in this boat. There are wealthy cartels who could afford to develop safe and legal operations there; I'd be interested in setting up a cocaine or opium processing facility there. Or maybe a lab to produce meth, or Ecstasy. Of course, many nations would have a problem with this. I imagine that like other nations, the floating Libertarian nation would have to engage other nations and develop treaties etc. Powerful trading partners like the US and China might not sanction trade without certain guarantees concerning such activities - that don't fall under the rubric of "individual harm" yet are not sanctioned in many or most nations on earth.


Yes, those would be interesting scenarios. How much would such a place bend its domestic agenda for external interests? Initially, I suspect it would be very minimally, but that might, and probably would, change over time. To what degree? Be interesting to find out.

QUOTE
Were I a nuclear engineer, what would prevent me from moving to the island and then setting up a business where I make money by selling nuclear technology and know-how to any organizations that can pony up the cash?


I'd put this is a separate category from the drugs above, although I do see the similarities, as well. Let's just say this would be an interesting scenario as well.

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They also say they will have a litigation-based justice system. They're going to need a lot of lawyers!


True...not that we have grounds to point fingers on that point. I wouldn't be surprised if what they ended up with was more efficient/effective than what we have.

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On the FAQ page I noticed they mentioned pollution production being controlled by a system of fines. But if I were a wealthy polluter in this system, I'd have a big team of lawyers to argue that I am not directly harming others. Indirect harm, such as certain pollutants, is much harder to prove. In a system where litigation is the primary means of enforcement, I could really drag out the process. I suppose they could set up some very rigorous and wide-ranging definitions concerning indirect harm, but there would still inevitably be grey areas.


Or a system of vouchers as has been proposed here, and been used effectively in the past.

QUOTE
I'd also be interested to see what sort of health care system develops on this island. I imagine at first, with only the extremely wealthy able to live there, it would be pretty easy. If it ever grows to the point where there is economic stratification, they will run into inevitable dilemmas. Will they have physicians who do not adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, which is decidedly not of a libertarian nature? Will emergency care be denied those who cannot afford it? Will the poor in Freelandia die in the street if they cannot afford care? Will they have any contingencies for the disabled? For a poor family with a special-needs child whose care they cannot afford?


Me too. I think it would become an issue sooner rather than later...the 'worker bees' would need some way to get health care there too. Be curious just to see what their ideological stance on this ended up being, too. Would they determine that health care is an individual right? Not sure, but couldn't rule it out, either.

All of this are why I think it would be very interesting indeed to see such a place in action. Regardless of where they start up, I think the real interesting things to see will be where they end up.
Curmudgeon
QUOTE
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 18 2011, 10:37 AM) *
A single RPG could blow a hole in that ship's hull. Then where would they be?

Busy repairing the ship, and going about their other business? This has happened before, and damage was minimal...plus that was on undefended ships, whereas this one would surely have some defenses, and probably patrol boats as well.

I recall my father joking about a passenger on a deck chair of the Titanic asking if he could have more ice.

This island presumably would be set up by a major corporation, established in International waters to avoid paying minimum wages, union rules, etc. When I retired, I was working "off-shift" maintenance in a very large factory complex. There was something in the neighborhood of 10 square miles, and 84 separate production plants inside the fenceline. If something broke down, I repaired it. If I needed help, someone contacted the Overtime Control department to call someone in. The AT&T ad stating, "In here, fork lifts drive themselves." is not alluding to a fantasy. Real factories today are automated. There is no need for manpower to move products down an assembly line. The buttons can be pushed from anywhere. I vacationed in Canada with a couple of friends. On "vacation," they got up, logged in, and did a day's work before breakfast. They were management, it was expected of them if they wanted to stay employed. On random Monday mornings, management would be notified to restructure and cut the workforce by 10% by noon.

If this "independent nation" is operated as a corporation, it is very unlikely to have enough manpower on board to repair things immediately following a hurricane, tidal wave, or iceberg. What did it take to bring settlers to "The New World" from Europe? They were told that the streets were paved with gold.

Tell potential pirates that the streets of "Freelandia" are paved with gold, but don't tell them there are no streets.

Tell teen-age boys that gasoline for their cars in "Freelandia" costs less than a dollar a gallon, but once again don't mention that there are no roads, no cars, no gas stations.

Tell farmers in drought ridden nations that there is no charge for the farmland, and unlimited supplies of water...

Of course, all of these rumors could be researched and dispelled with a simple Google search by those wealthy enough to have access to the Internet; but pirate ships are manned by desparate young men with no clear alternative paths to a future.

"Freelandia" as it has been outlined here would appear to be a "target rich environment" for pirates, criminal organizations, spammers, etc. Stock in this corporation would be traded on what market? Would the IMF recognize currency minted under the "Full faith and Credit" of a yet to be created nation?

Let's finish our beer.gif beer.gif coffee and let this idea "die in committee."
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 18 2011, 02:47 PM) *
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 18 2011, 10:03 AM) *
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 18 2011, 10:37 AM) *
With a police force, just like everywhere else. Again, there seems to be this assumption they'd have no government, no laws, no societal structure at all, and I don't understand where that assumption comes from.


That isn't the assumption (at least not from me). The Island would have to have a government and set of laws, and societal structure. I'm specifically asking how they would go about that in a way that could feasibly work?


The same way it happens here, and everywhere else. It does seem like you are making the assumption I alluded to--if not, I'm not understanding your question.

QUOTE
Without an overriding higher force of law they could easily take over your home, along with all the other homes they "patrol". Alternately, they could turn into a mafia and simply continue to charge you/kidnap your home family members/business associates/friends. How would this Island prevent that sort of exploitive practice en masse?


With their police force, again, just like everywhere else.


But it DOESN'T work "everywhere else". That's the point. It "doesn't work" in a whooole lot of places, none of which the residents of "Libertaria" would want to abide for very long, I would assume. There are scores of nations with corrupt police forces and/or near total lawless conditions that often don't allow wealth to accumulate (with the exception of heavily armed warlords/mobsters and those don't live long and/or hold onto wealth very long). We're currently seeing many nations going into a spiral of decline into the condition of "hollow state" preferable to the predators (partial failure permits exploitation of the population without the 'headache' of ownship). This isn't something necessarily brought on by 'bad choices', few want to live in a predatorial society...it's a difficult endeavor to obtain security of private rights and limited risk of exploitation...arguably the most difficult endeavor of a nation, but also its primary purpose.

What would prevent this sort of exploitation en masse in Libertaria, which we're assuming is just dripping in wealth accumulation but has to hire a lot of private security while simultaneously ensuring legal protection both with and from that private security? True all nations deal with this problem, but most nations have a foundation in the legitimacy of some state authority that Libertaria would not have even at the beginning...particularly after traditional loyalties that usually come with a nation-state have been eviscerated and replaced by a mercenary police force and global marketplace as supreme power.
Hobbes
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Aug 21 2011, 02:48 PM) *
What would prevent this sort of exploitation en masse in Libertaria, which we're assuming is just dripping in wealth accumulation but has to hire a lot of private security while simultaneously ensuring legal protection both with and from that private security? True all nations deal with this problem, but most nations have a foundation in the legitimacy of some state authority that Libertaria would not have even at the beginning...particularly after traditional loyalties that usually come with a nation-state have been eviscerated and replaced by a mercenary police force and global marketplace as supreme power.


If that's the assumption, then it is also the answer. Consider the U.S. It is well known that police response rate and other factors are much better in 'rich' neighborhoods than it poor ones. Consider also that in this assumption there wouldn't be the 'poor' neighborhoods from which the criminals would come in the first place. Disputes would be between rich and rich...difficult to get that corrupt a regime going in such a situation. The scenario you paint would never occur--unless you revert to that total lack of government assumption that I still think is implied in your question, but which is not what would occur. Why, for example, are you assuming their would only be private security? Why are you assuming they wouldn't have some state authority? Why are you assuming a mercenary police force?
jaellon
QUOTE(CruisingRam @ Aug 17 2011, 02:03 PM) *
QUOTE(jaellon @ Aug 17 2011, 11:25 AM) *
1. Can a Libertarian Island really be built?

the first stage of the plan is to build a prototype seasteading just offshore from San Francisco. It's going to be entirely dependent on California and the United States for its economy and security.


Which means they have to pay federal taxes and conform to California and Federal laws and regulations- not the libertarian paradise of no rules at that point- can't even smoke reeefer legally! w00t.gif


Yes, in stage 1, it won't even come close to resembling a libertarian paradise, or whatever you want to call it (although I'm going to take issue with your seemingly flippant implication that libertarianism = "no rules"). Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will this island. In any engineering project, whether structural, nuclear, software, etc., you have to take an iterative approach. Build a prototype. Test it out. See what went as expected. See what failed. Make adjustments. Repeat.

I think that is by far the point that receives the most emphasis on the SeaSteading site. It will take possibly decades to accomplish, it will take iteration and experimentation, for both engineering and politics, and it may even require starting over from scratch. However, given enough time and initiative, I'm certain any engineering problem can be solved, and I see no reason why any existing political framework couldn't work equally well on the ocean as it does on land.

On a related note, it seems to me that the general assumption on this thread is that there will only be a single solitary platform out in the middle of the Pacific. Try envisioning instead hundreds or even thousands of these platforms, relatively close to each other, and joined politically by anything from a loose coalition to a single centralized government. I don't think pirates would be nearly as bold to attack something like that, and I think that you would find a lot more diversity of the social and economic classes who live there.
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