Policy Forum

Seasteading: Homesteading the High Seas for Liberty

April 7, 2009 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT

Auditorium/1st floor/Wintergarden

Featuring Patri Friedman, Executive Director, Seasteading Institute; with comments by Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; and Arnold Kling Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute.

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History provides us with many examples of powerful institutions being disrupted by technology. The invention of the printing press undermined the authority of the Catholic Church by democratizing access to knowledge. Today, the Internet is undermining the traditional copyright industries.

Now, an ambitious new project aims to achieve a similar result by creating competition for the world’s sovereign nations. The Seasteading Institute seeks to build self‐​sufficient deep‐​sea platforms that would empower individuals to break free of national governments and start their own societies. Executive director Patri Friedman predicts a future in which any group of people dissatisfied with their current government would be able to start a new one by purchasing a floating platform — called a seastead — and building a new community on the open ocean. He hopes that the availability of alternatives will encourage existing governments to reform themselves to better serve their citizens.

Can seasteading succeed where past plans have not? Are people willing to brave the high seas for liberty? Economist Arnold Kling will address the viability of the project in light of similar efforts in the past. Doug Bandow will address whether existing governments will tolerate seasteads, and specifically how the international Law of the Sea Treaty might complicate matters. Please join us for an in‐​depth discussion of the prospects of this exciting new effort.