In the video game BioShock a rich man obsessed with the philosophy of Objectivism builds himself an undersea city where he can create a society that best reflects his beliefs. That’s science fiction. In reality he would build that city on a floating oil platform outside of territorial waters.
Yes, a real world version of Rapture, the undersea city from BioShock, is under development. Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and one of the initial investors in Facebook, has donated $1.5 million to the Seasteading Institute, a group seeking to set up libertarian enclaves outside of current nations.
According to Details Magazine:
They’d be small city-states at first, although the aim is to have tens of millions of seasteading residents by 2050. Architectural plans for a prototype involve a movable, diesel-powered, 12,000-ton structure with room for 270 residents, with the idea that dozens—perhaps even hundreds—of these could be linked together. [They hope] to launch a flotilla of offices off the San Francisco coast next year; full-time settlement, [they predict], will follow in about seven years; and full diplomatic recognition by the United Nations, well, that’ll take some lawyers and time.
These floating cities would start from scratch, ignoring all the laws and customs and social mores that have built up over time. This would be full on libertarianism at play, including such ideals as ‘no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.’
Is it just me or do ‘looser building codes’ and ‘man-made floating islands’ sound about as compatible as… well, this project and logic?
Thiel and his investing buddies aren’t the first to have big, hare-brained schemes for the betterment of mankind through selfishness, they’re just the ones who come closest to being video game characters about it.
Thanks to the people at The Fake Life for bringing this to my attention.