The Next Generation Of Pilgrims Want To Start Their Own Countries That Float At Sea

Your hip, politically savvy friends probably say something like this with every election: “If [so-and-so] wins, I’m leaving the country.”

That might soon become so possible that they’ll have to follow through with it.

Seasteading is a Libertarian’s dream realised. It involves setting up floating cities at sea, 200 miles off the coast of a country so as to not be subject to its laws.

Call it an experiment in governance, call it a way to live under a new set of rules of your own creation, maybe even a way to start your life over. You may one day be setting up your own sovereign nation.

Patri Friedman (grandson of the famed Milton Friedman) is one of the main proponents of seasteading, and he set up The Seasteading Foundation to educate people and generate interest. And there’s loads of interest. Even billionaire investor Peter Thiel, known for his outspoken Libertarian leanings, is pushing for this to become a practical reality.

There are some challenges, of course, but we already do a simpler version of this all the time. In an interview on Glenn Beck’s Blaze Network, Randolph Hencken, executive director of The Seasteading Institute, explained that cruise ships already ferry about 10 million people a year — roughly the population of Sweden — and are already practically floating cities.

Cruise ships have a certain political flexibility with their dock in one country and be owned by a corporation in another.

Patri Friedman sees this as a way for people people to get to live under the system they want and to create data about whether that system actually works.

He offers the following analogy:

“Why are people using governmental systems from 1787? A car from 1787 would be a horse!”

Seasteading is all about setting up your own sovereign country at sea. A floating city or micronation, but nicer than this.

More like this!

This idea has been around in different forms for a number of decades. For example, meet Paddy Roy Bates, who decided in 1967 that he didn't want to be British anymore.

So Bates climbed aboard an abandoned WWII sea fort off the coast of Suffolk, England and declared it to be a nation all its own. His family and associates live there to this day.

A much more modern concept of seasteading is being pushed by Patri Friedman, who started The Seasteading Foundation to advocate for the idea. He sees seasteading as the 'startup sector for government' and an 'apolitical solution to politics.'

We might one day see modular, changeable countries floating at sea like this.

Joe Quirk, an author who's written extensively about seasteading, says 'We want to create a forum -- a market -- where people can try out their ideas on the ocean and see what happens.'

Randolph Hencken, executive director of The Seasteading Foundation, says, 'We can't change Washington, but we can start fresh.'

The idea has attracted plenty of attention from those disappointed in the state of their home country or are simply hoping for a fresh start. Even uber-wealthy investor Peter Thiel is into it.

Seastead concept designs envision major floating cities on the scale of places like Hong Kong and New York City.

But it can also be a simpler rig like this. Anything 200 miles off the coast of a country is in its own nebulous political state.

We'd prefer creature comforts like these, though.

The Seasteading Institute is conducting all kinds of research to figure out how much space people need to live comfortably.

If you don't want or need much space, you'd probably do well as a seasteader.

So what do you think? Could you live in a city on the sea?

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.